ARTISTS visiting the Isle of Wight to appear at Quay Arts will receive free cross-Solent travel from Wightlink in a major new sponsorship deal.

The arrangement is already underway and, as part of its new relationship, the ferry operator chose Quay Arts as the venue for a 'meet and greet' event for other local individuals and organisations it sponsors.

Quay Arts manager Paul Armfield said: “This is a really massive deal for us.

"Theatres and arts venues across the country run on very tight margins and support such as providing travel costs is absolutely crucial.

“Having these travel costs met can be the difference between a gig, event or exhibition being feasible or not.

"This news is extremely important and we are extremely grateful to Wightlink — as will be those who support and use our theatre now and in the future.”

Based in the heart of Newport, the Quay Arts complex features two art galleries, a crafts shop, a 134-capacity theatre, conferencing facilities and a cafe and was fully refurbished in 1997.

Quay Arts owns and operates Jubilee Stores, also located on Newport Quay.

Wightlink chief executive Keith Greenfield said: “Quay Arts is a fabulous amenity offering a very wide range of entertainment and cultural events as well as providing a hub for the Island in general and its artistic community in particular.

“As soon as we were approached by Quay Arts, we were delighted to assist such a vibrant and important local enterprise."