All weekend I listened to the wind with some trepidation. We are trying to secure the beautiful gable ends of the Grand Hall through a series of emergency works. So high winds have lost their thrill for us right now. The gable ends still stand proud today and our efforts to make the Grand Hall site safe continues apace. If you want to visit the site or talk with someone about what happens next, just email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest. Pippa will contact you when we have a clearer idea on the timetable for site visits.
Our Easter-week action-list looks something like this:
- complete emergency works to Grand Hall site;
- work up a re-build plan with English Heritage, Wandsworth Council and the thousands of people who care passionately about this wonderful space;
- support the Grand Hall shows that are currently off-site (thanks to the amazing theatres who have stepped-in);
- we are also on to plans to create a temporary Grand Hall for all our A Nation’s Theatre shows;
- complete the line-up for the Phoenix Fundraiser on 18th April (thanks to inspirational artists who have already stepped forwards)
- …and sell 2,500 tickets in two weeks flat! We can do it!! If you want to pass on the link to the gig, then it’s here.
Last week, the front of the building was full of the Hourglass Festival with 100’s of young people from London, Ipswich, Manchester and elsewhere. It was a week full of optimism and helped us all remember what we are doing this for. We were especially proud of our Agents who featured in the Telegraph’s Saturday magazine. Their new social enterprises also featured in the festival last week. [I especially loved the sold-out I Am Next gig on Friday and buying my Lavender Scrub from Sydney’s Naturals. I smell better than usual today.]
On Friday, I worked with colleagues to go through every email and text message of support, from the last two weeks, so we can write back to everyone properly to say a big thank you. Two weeks on from the fire, it was an emotional afternoon. There were messages from neighbours, artists, ex-staff, ex-Trustees, local schools, local businesses, people who have got married in the Hall, local councillors and officers from Wandsworth Council, other regional councils from around the UK, students and universities from around the UK, dance and theatre companies and orchestras, dozens of amazing colleagues from the What Next? movement, leaders from the Clore fellowship programme, colleagues from the Collaborative Touring Network, the London Theatre Consortium, and national companies and venues, including a lot from Manchester (thanks Manchester!), venues in continental Europe, USA, Australia and Brazil, loads from our partners at Wandsworth Museum, alongside many other museums and heritage organisations, environmental companies, funders, the Mayor of London, the Mayor of Wandsworth, the Leader & Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Culture, colleagues at BBC, UK artist development programmes, UK festivals, arts consultants, design consultants and dangerous building contractors offering free support, plus a lady across the road who has offered us tea in her kitchen any time we need it.
All the actions that lie ahead are all made possible because of this support. The breadth of support illustrates how people think of cultural spaces in a similar way to the way they think about our schools, our hospitals, our libraries, or other public buildings that are part of the fabric of our communities. Our minds are now turning to how we can repay all this support, with interest. It is exciting to look ahead to the programmes and activities we can offer in the future, inspiring more people to take creative risks.