Budget Cuts - Birmingham City Council will make cuts to all funding for culture projects and local-arts development, with Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Birmingham Royal Ballet facing a 100% reduction to their support in the next financial year. Europe’s largest local authority has taken drastic measures to tackle a £300m budget shortfall over the next two years, including ending its £350,000 funding to Birmingham International Dance Festival.
Grants to organisations in receipt of regular funding will be hit with 50% cuts this year and 100% from the 2025/26 financial year, with those impacted including Birmingham Opera Company, dance development organisation FABRIC and B:Music - home to the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and operator of Symphony Hall.
Planning News - A film studio plans to invest millions of pounds in local infrastructure in a bid to receive planning permission from the local authority. Buckinghamshire Council could not reach a decision on Marlow Film Studios' plans for Marlow quarry in October. Councillors deferred the decision to further consider issues related to the green belt and local highways. The studio's updated plans revealed over £20m will be invested in roads and other public infrastructure.
Robert Laycock, CEO of Marlow Film Studios said: "These improvements to the roads and bus services in South Bucks are only a part of the major benefits unlocked by the studios for the local area, its residents and its economy." The campaign group Save Marlow's Greenbelt said: "There is nothing in the amended planning documents that alters our fundamental objections. It will destroy valuable green belt, harm the environment, and cause significant traffic congestion.”
No Connect - The organisers of Connect music festival have announced the event will not be held in 2024 to build the "next edition" of the festival. Initially held in 2007 and 2008 at Inveraray Castle in Argyll, the event was relaunched in 2022 at the Royal Highland Centre near Edinburgh. Last year's festival saw performances by Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand, boygenius and Raye. Promoter DF Concerts said the venue had been a "delight" for attendees and they would continue to host Edinburgh Summer Sessions there. In a social media post the organisers said: "We've decided to take a break with Connect Music Festival in 2024 to take the time to build the next edition of the festival.
Piano Music - BBC Radio 2's Piano Room is heading on tour for the first time with a series of events planned to take place in Manchester. Hosted by Vernon Kay, stars headlining include Jamie Cullum, David Gray and Katie Melua, who will take to the stage in September. The acts will be performing with the BBC concert orchestra at Manchester's Opera House theatre. More acts will be announced for three-night stint, SJM Concerts said.
Property News - London’s Old Red Lion pub and theatre has gone on the market for £450,000. The Grade-II listed building has gone on sale through property adviser Christie & Co, with prospective buyers encouraged to "re-build the theatre post-Covid" and develop food offerings at the venue.
A description of the opportunity admitted that the pandemic had "affected the theatre trade in London", with the Old Red Lion struggling "due to the intimate nature of the venue" - but said the "renowned" fringe theatre presented a "unique opportunity" for buyers. The four-storey building features a 50-seat theatre on its first floor, which has programmed work by writers and directors including Abi Morgan and Penelope Skinner, as well as the original production of Mischief Theatre’s The Play That Goes Wrong.
The theatre opened its doors in 1979, though a pub has stood on the site reputedly since 1415. The building standing in its place today has benefitted from extensive renovation to its exterior over the last 18 months.
Elegantly Wasted - More than 25 previously lost and unseen photos of the Rolling Stones by one of their photographers and his assistants are to go on display in London. The Elegantly Wasted exhibition features photos taken by Tony Sanchez, affectionately called Spanish Tony by guitarist Keith Richards. The photos were previously thought to be lost but were rediscovered decades later in a loft in south London.
The exhibition organisers said the limited edition prints, which are for sale, demonstrated the "unprecedented access" Mr Sanchez had with the band and were "one of the most important photographic records of The Rolling Stones to come to the market in years".
Sick Note - A bullet fired from the gun that killed John Lennon is going under the hammer in the North-East next week. The ‘macabre’ artefact was gifted by the New York Police Department to Northumbria Police officer Brian Taylor. During a visit to the NYPD, officers let him shoot the gun Mark Chapman used to murder the Beatle and he kept the bullet for the rest of his life. The late officer's family are now auctioning the bullet via Newcastle auctioneers Anderson & Garland.
(Jim Evans)
27 February 2024

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