Shock as Stratford ArtsHouse looks set to close - The Stratford Observer

Shock as Stratford ArtsHouse looks set to close

Stratford Editorial 22nd Feb, 2018 Updated: 22nd Feb, 2018   0

THE CURTAIN is set to come down for good on Stratford ArtsHouse.

The Rother Street theatre is run as a charitable trust and has been receiving grants from Stratford Town Trust since it reopened following a £1.8million refurbishment in April 2014.

But the trust, which owns the building, has decided the theatre is no longer sustainable and has not renewed the four-year funding contract.

Trust chief executive Justin Williams said: “It was a difficult decision but we need to deliver funds where they are needed and where they will have the best impact.

“We have injected additional funds as requested by the ArtsHouse but this is just not possible anymore – it’s no longer sustainable.

“There’s just not enough people going to the theatre. While it’s a charity, it’s also a business, and we’re here to fund the community.

“The idea is we fund projects to begin with and then decrease funding so they gradually become more independent but this has not been the case with the ArtsHouse.”

The venue, which employs 11 staff, hosts various events throughout the year, including theatre productions, live music, and exhibitions. It is also home to the acclaimed Orchestra of The Swan, and hosts the annual Stratford Literary Festival.

Rosemary Hyde, a member of the Stratford-upon-Avon Artshouse Trust, which took over the running of the venue following the revamp, spoke at the end of last year about the progress the Artshouse had made since its re-launch, and urged people to “keep supporting us as our journey continues”.

The Observer understands the venue is set to close in May following three shows by comedian Jasper Carrott.

Townspeople took to social media to express their shock and disappointment.

One person commented “For such a cultural town, those of us involved in amateur productions and who have love to watch them are being restricted and limited as a whole. It seems apparent that over the last few years the powers that be never had any interest in our opinions. A massive blow and shame to the community.

Another wrote: “It’s a real shame as £1.8million was spent on the refurb. As someone who is involved in local amateur theatre the new space never really worked on so many levels. The main hall is great for orchestras but terrible for plays and everything else really. It is completely inflexible and expensive for local groups to rent.”

The Grade-II listed building previously served as both a nursing home and hospital before it became a theatre. It was known as Stratford Civic Hall for many years before the 2014 refurbishment and rebranding.

The establishment also boasts art display spaces, meeting rooms, and landscaped gardens.

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