Flagship Opening - City Academy is to open a new arts complex in the former home of the Central School of Ballet, which it is describing as a "flagship" offering. Opening in the old heritage building in Clerkenwell, London, the site will contain a purpose-built black-box theatre – opening later this year – and classes that will run over the five storeys, with the first course having started already.
City Academy offers dance, acting and other creative courses. Its managing director Michael Ward said: “We are incredibly excited to be bringing this wonderful heritage building back to life and filling it with a new generation of actors, dancers, singers, performers and creatives. As you walk around the building, you can feel its history, and we aim to honour and respect this past as we refurbish the building. Our team cannot wait to welcome our students and clients into the building from mid-January.” A total of 12 studios will open throughout 2023, offering spaces for acting, singing and dance, as well as film-making and music. The site will be fully open at the end of 2023.
Culture Commons - Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has committed to devolving cultural policymaking powers to local communities in his new year speech. Culture Commons, which is an organisation that aims to bridge the gap between culture and politics, welcomed the new year speech, stating it was "delighted" that Starmer had explicitly acknowledged the UK’s creative and cultural sectors.
Starmer stated that, if elected, Labour intended to devolve powers over areas including culture, employment support, transport, energy, climate change and housing to local communities with a new "take back control" bill. The leader of the Labour Party also paid tribute to the "resilience of our retailers, pubs and venues, [and] the creative industries fighting back from the pandemic".
No Sale - A controversial £3.9m sale of Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre to Ambassador Theatre Group is no longer taking place, after discussions between the parties involved collapsed. In a statement released on social media, Pavilion Theatre general manager Iain Gordon said: “We would like to confirm that no further discussions are taking place with ATG about a potential sale of the Pavilion Theatre.”
The Pavilion Theatre has been owned by members of the Martin family since 1986 and has become known for hosting touring shows and stand-up comedians, as well as producing an annual pantomime. The statement added that tickets were now on sale for shows throughout 2023. The theatre originally opened in 1904 as a music hall and hosted several well-known performers in the early 20th century, including Harry Lauder, Sarah Bernhardt and a young Charlie Chaplin.
Funding Cuts - An opera tour, which has taken place for more than 50 years, has been cancelled due to funding cuts. The Glyndebourne Tour will not go ahead in 2023 as the opera company has seen a 50% reduction in its touring and community grants. Arts Council England announced big cuts for some organisations in November, including an £860,000 reduction for Glyndebourne.
Glyndebourne said its decision to cut the tour was "devastating". Richard Davidson-Houston, managing director of Glyndebourne, said: "The latest funding settlement from Arts Council England is devastating for many in the opera sector, which was targeted with significant cuts. It risks undermining the delicate ecosystem in which we operate."
World Class - The Bristol Beacon will be a "world class" music venue when it reopens later this year, its artistic director has said. Formerly known as The Colston Hall, it has been closed since 2018 for a refurbishment costing more than £100m. Todd Wills said they hope to re-open this autumn, with an announcement expected in the coming weeks. "Bristol deserves a world class concert hall and that is what we are going to get," he said.
Eurovision - Public Image Ltd - the band John Lydon formed after the Sex Pistols split in 1978 - is in the running to represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest. The song, called Hawaii, is described as "a love letter to Lydon's wife of nearly five decades who is living with Alzheimer's". Irish broadcaster RTÉ has announced the band will compete with five other acts for the title in a TV show next month. This year's Eurovision is taking place in Liverpool in May.
(Jim Evans)
10 January 2023

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