Studio Sale - The BBC's historic Maida Vale studios, which have hosted sessions by stars ranging from The Beatles to Adele, have been sold to a group led by Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer.
Zimmer, who wrote the scores for films like The Lion King and Dune, has teamed up with Love Actually and Cats movie producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.
The BBC said the complex would remain a "centre for pioneering music-making". It was valued at about £10m but the BBC did not disclose the purchase price. Built in 1909 as Britain's largest indoor roller-skating rink, the north-west London building was bought by the BBC in 1933. It is home to the BBC Symphony Orchestra and has hosted the world's biggest rock and pop stars - from Led Zeppelin to Radiohead and Jay-Z to Little Mix.
It also played host to John Peel's famous Radio 1 sessions and the BBC's innovative Radiophonic Workshop, famed for its realisation of the Doctor Who theme tune. The corporation is planning to move its music studios to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London in 2025, where the BBC Symphony Orchestra will then be based.
Ticket Prices - Society of London Theatre co-chief executive Claire Walker has responded to David Tennant’s criticism of “ludicrous” West End ticket prices, highlighting that average ticket prices have decreased when adjusted for inflation. Last week, Tennant said he was aware of the high ticket costs when he was in a show in the West End and warned that prices were “strangling the next generation of audiences”.
However, Walker said that the latest box office data showed that the average ticket price for a West End show had decreased by 7.8% when adjusted for the high rate of inflation. This showed the average ticket price was up to £54.38 in 2022, from £52.17 in 2019. However, when adjusted for inflation, SOLT said the average ticket price paid in 2022 would have been equivalent to £48.11.
Walker said: “Like many other events, the most premium prices are influenced by a number of factors - demand, willingness, and capacity to pay by the people who want the best possible seat. Theatres are currently grappling with rising costs, and there has never been a more financially uncertain time to put on a show. Despite these challenges, there are still a variety of ticket prices on offer.”
According to The Stage’s ticketing survey this year, the average cost of the most expensive ticket for a musical was £162.41 and the most expensive ticket for a play being £94.45.
Repair Costs - Up to £500,000 is needed for repairs to the Blackpool Grand Theatre. Owner Grand Theatre Trust has submitted plans for the repair work to Blackpool Council, which are yet to be approved. These focus on the venue’s dome.
Grand Theatre Trust has proposed that Arts Council England should be approached for funding to support the work, which would be carried out in spring next year, so as not to impact the theatre’s performances. The theatre is a grade-II listed venue, built in 1894.
Farewell - Clarence Avant, whose talent as a manager, mentor and deal-maker earned him the nickname 'The Godfather of Black Music', has died aged 92. A former head of Motown, he worked with everyone from Bill Withers to Michael Jackson, and founded one of America's first Black-owned radio stations. Avant died at home in Los Angeles on Sunday, his family said in a statement. It comes 20 months after his wife, Jacqueline, was shot and killed by an intruder in their Beverly Hills home.
"Clarence leaves behind a loving family and a sea of friends and associates that have changed the world and will continue to change the world for generations to come," said the family. "The joy of his legacy eases the sorrow of our loss."
(Jim Evans)
15 August 2023

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