Interest is soaring in the quirky mobile ‘Oss box arts venue which has been popping up in various locations across the Black Country.

The converted 1970s horse box spends most of its time in Cradley Heath but recently ventured to West Bromwich for the Sandwell Arts Festival.

SANDWELL COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH 02/09/2016 Pics in Cradley heath of 'Cradley Heath Creative', and there multi purpose 'Oss Box', currently being turned into a stage , performance area, but recently it was used as a camera Obscura. Secretary: Elizabeth Lee pictured. Inside the box.

Image COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH. Elizabeth Lee pictured inside the box.

The travelling performance vessel is the creation of Cradley Heath Creative. So far it has been used for shadow puppetry, musical performances and a camera obscurer. It is currently under going work so one of the side doors can drop down to create a touring stage.

Tim Tolkien, famous for his metal sculpting works – most notably the 50 foot Sentinel sculpture on Spitfire Island, near the M6 in Birmingham – is the man tasked with the transforming the ‘Oss Box.

He said: “I joined Cradley Heath Creative just over a year ago and there was a small surplus of money, so out of conversations at the pubs came the idea of the ‘Oss Box. Originally we were just thinking of ideas for a little venue, which was a shed, then became a caravan, before ending on a horse box.”

Mr Tolkien, who is the great-nephew of The Lord of the Rings author JRR. Tolkien, says he is excited by the potential of versatility of the ‘Oss Box, although it comes with its challenges.

Image COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH. Recently it was used as a camera Obscura.

Image COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH. Recently it was used as a camera Obscura.

“When you start cutting into it, it brings other problems, a lack of head room and difficulties with cutting into the curved metal for example. It’s only going to improve. We’ll put a sound system in their next and really will turn into a portable arts venue,” he added.

Words: Doug Wootton


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