By CATHARINE MORRIS
The Wapping Project, “an idea consistently in transition”, was founded by Jules Wright, formerly a resident director at the Royal Court Theatre and co-founder of the Women’s Playhouse Trust (WTP). It takes its name from its first home, the disused Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, London E1, where the WTP started mounting productions in 1993. The building was converted – in such a way as to retain its industrial glamour, and some of its machinery – into a versatile arts venue and restaurant.
In 2009, Wright opened a photographic gallery next to Tate Modern, which has now moved to the sumptuous Ely House in Dover Street. The Wapping Project retains its broad interest in the arts (I’m rather taken with the new residency it offers in Berlin: the successful candidate is not allowed to do any work); and on Thursday I went to the first of its “Skylight Soirées” presented in association with the New Statesman, and curated and chaired by Erica Wagner. The event featured Ali Smith; “I was thinking I might move in”, she told us as we gathered in a cream-carpeted, warmly lit room, surrounded by wood panelling and arresting photographs of Iran by Abbas Kowsari. “Nobody would notice.”