THE COMMUNITY has been urged to show their support for Stratford ArtsHouse when a new operator takes over.
Justin Williams, chief executive of Stratford Town Trust, which owns the Rother street venue, made the appeal after revealing negotiations were progressing well with a potential operator.
The trust selected one proposal from four submitted, and Mr Williams said while he could not yet reveal a name, the prospective operator had ‘significant community and artistic credentials’ and experience of the venue, which was previously run by the ArtsHouse Trust.
Mr Williams also suggested the venue would still operate as a theatre and hoped groups currently using it would continue to be able to.
He told The Observer: “The venue will remain as a community facility. The town trust is purchasing the assets from the ArtsHouse Trust so that there will be seating and lighting within the venue.
“The trust, in showing its on-going commitment to enriching community life through supporting the ArtsHouse venue, would like to emphasise that everybody in the town needs to help support the new operator once negotiations are complete.
“Without this on-going and enthusiastic support from the people of Stratford this venue will not be financially sustainable.
“We’d like to thank everybody engaged in the process and look forward to seeing strong community support in the future for the new venue operator.”
The trust announced in February it would be pulling the plug on funding because the venue was not sustainable as a business and relied too heavily on hand-outs.
Mr Williams added the trust had provided in excess of £1million to the ArtsHouse Trust and following the end of the funding contract, continued to further support it during key community events.