Leading experts brought together by the Theatres Trust have given their input to Croydon’s £30m refit of the Fairfield Halls.
The council invited the Theatres Trust to bring together a team of experts to review the scheme through their Advisory Review process earlier in the year and they have now given advice on ways that the renovation scheme could be improved still further. Members of the Panel included current and former chief executives of Birmingham Symphony Hall, the Bristol Music Trust, and Birmingham Royal Ballet.
Their recommendation to review the load-in arrangements for the concert hall so that it is appropriate for potential users has been taken on board, together with their recommendation about putting more seats into the Ashcroft Theatre, and both are now built into the council’s plans.
This will mean some £4m can be spent on better audience facilities, such as improved air conditioning in the summer months.
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure, and sport, said:
“The panel’s feedback has been, and will continue to be, incredibly useful in guiding us in the run-up to re-opening of the Halls in the summer of 2018. We’re really grateful for them giving up their time for free and being so enthusiastic about the project.
“Our first big priority right now is to get on with clearing the building in preparation for the main refit to start. At the same time we’re moving ahead with recruiting an experienced theatre management company.”
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport
The panel welcomed the way the council was aiming to landscape the space around the Halls and wants to restore many of the building’s original features. This will help highlight Fairfield’s historic links to the Royal Festival Hall.
They also agreed the council was right to focus on creating an excellent audience experience and reducing future running costs.
Paula Murray, Creative Director at Croydon Council, said: “The day spent with the panel touring the Halls and discussing their future was brilliant. We were delighted they agreed to give up their valuable time and they were all clearly impressed with the project. They are all so experienced they have given us some great ideas to consider. Our huge thanks go to the Theatres Trust for arranging this.”