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Funding boost for entertainment venue

PUBLISHED: 12:58 26 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:58 26 April 2019

Southwold Arts Centre at St Edmunds Hall in Southwold.  PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Southwold Arts Centre at St Edmunds Hall in Southwold. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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A new phase in the development of an arts centre will be marked following a funding boost.

Southwold Arts Centre at St Edmunds Hall in Southwold.  PHOTO: Nick ButcherSouthwold Arts Centre at St Edmunds Hall in Southwold. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Sole Bay Arts CIO has secured £35,000 in funding from the recent round of the Coastal Revival Fund to support their ambitions for Southwold Arts Centre.

Supported by the Southwold Coastal Community Team (CCT) and East Suffolk Council, the aim is for the arts centre, based at St Edmunds Hall, to become a sustainable artistic, cultural and community venue for the town and surrounding area.

With Sole Bay Arts CIO establised to operate St Edmunds Hall as an arts and community centre and raise the necessary funds to refurbish the building and facilities to the benefit of all, this funding will enable the arts centre to install retractable seating.

This will therefore provide a multi-use and accessible venue, as well as increase its capacity from 220 to 260, while keeping the flexibility required for cabaret-style, church and community events.

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Peter Adshead, centre manager, said: “This award marks the beginning of a new phase in the arts centre's development and coincides with the appointment of new trustees, drawn from a broad spectrum of the local community, along with a new management board to deal with all operational aspects of the venue, with the required skills to enable the full community benefit to be fulfilled.

“Not only will the greater capacity enable the centre to attract more mainstream artists and theatre companies but will also lay the foundations for our planned business expansion into conference and larger cinema/theatre projects.

“Following consultation with hall users, the new seating will also improve accessibility for wheelchair users who will no longer be marginalised on the edges of the auditorium.”

The Southwold Coastal Community Team is celebrating once more with this latest financial boost supporting the development of projects contained within their Economic Plan.

It follows the announcement earlier this year that £15,000 of Coastal Revival funding was awarded to Southwold Town Council for a feasibility study for the Southwold Boating Lakes – a project also contained withing the CCT's Economic Plan.

The CCT, formed in 2017, is led by a steering group comprising representatives of Southwold Town Council, Reydon Parish Council, Southwold and Reydon Society, East Suffolk Council and other key business and community representatives.

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