Fairfield Halls will host a variety of creative and community uses during its period of ‘hibernation’, the council and venue operators BH Live have revealed.
Last month BH Live announced that Fairfield Halls would join theatres and arts venues across the UK in entering a period of extended closure until 2021. This is to mitigate the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the sector, which continues to be severely-affected by the social distancing restrictions of the pandemic and the absence of any timescales for recovery.
But despite the Croydon venue being closed to audiences and the public, the building will not lay dormant – its spaces will be put to use by local artists and arts organisations who will be continuing their work behind the scenes.
The Recreational will play host to contemporary dance as Agudo Dance Company hold planning and rehearsal sessions for their production Carmen, due to tour in 2021. Jose Agudo said: “Working at Fairfield Halls with the support of Croydon Council will make a significant impact on our company recovery plan. The arts sector need this kind of residency support to prepare for 2021”.
The show was co-commissioned by Fairfield Halls with support from Croydon’s Cultural Partnership Fund and Creative Enterprise Zone as well as Arts Council England.
Meanwhile Fairfield Hall’s resident orchestra, London Mozart Players (LMP) will keep the Concert Hall alive with music, including a live stream of their performance during the autumn. Throughout lockdown, Croydon’s very own chamber orchestra has kept audiences entertained with virtual concerts, with tens of thousands tuning in.
The venue’s spaces will also be available to resident theatre companies, including Talawa and SAVVY throughout the hibernation, subject to government guidance on social distancing at the time. Earlier this week Talawa announced Tales from the Frontline, which will give black frontline workers a voice and a platform for their experiences of the pandemic. SAVVY hope to welcome back groups for their inclusive sessions from September in line with social distancing guidance.
SAVVY, Talawa and LMP have all received support from Croydon Council’s Culture Relief Fund for their programming during the pandemic.
“Fairfield Halls has always been the beating heart of Croydon’s cultural scene and community, and we fully support our operator’s difficult decision for it to enter ‘hibernation’ to protect its future.
“Across the country venues are having to make difficult decisions, because of a lack of clarity about when they will be able to reopen, Whilst we welcome Government’s announcement of emergency funding earlier this week, we wait to hear what this might mean for Croydon-based organisations.
“However, we are keen that the building does not lay empty and is used by the community and our creative organisations – who have shown incredible resilience throughout this challenging time – as much as the social distancing guidelines will safely permit.
“By doing so we are helping to protect both the future of our venue and of Croydon’s much-valued cultural partners, in the hope that both will be ready to welcome back audiences and our wider community as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport