An update from our Director, Gavin Stride
22 December 2020
This past year has been, by any measure, difficult and testing. We shut our buildings for 8 months, lost all of our self-generated income, through ticket sales, café, room hire, festival programme and had to make some very difficult decisions. We made a number of posts redundant, every member of staff took a salary sacrifice, we secured emergency funding and have found other ways to reduce our costs.
And now we find ourselves needing to pause the programme in January and close our doors, whilst we adapt to the new tier structures and the impact on our audiences. Whilst we continue to provide space for the University of Creative Arts, blood donors and some groups, it means that the box office will be closed as will the riverside café and some support services. It is our intention to reschedule all events in our January programme. We will contact all customers affected, as and when we are able to provide a new date. Thank you for your ongoing support at this time, please bear with us, we will be working with a small core team to ensure that we are ready to reopen as soon as we can.
Despite all these challenges we have found moments of light. We are proud of the way we adapted to serve the town, working with the town council on the emergency response, setting up a share store, collecting and redistributing winter coats, working with Right at Home on meals for the vulnerable at Christmas and now coordinating a programme of work to tackle loneliness. We really do want to continue to contribute to the quality of people’s lives across the town. In addition to our work in the local community we continue to support the independent theatre sector in the Southeast through the house network and internationally through our international strand of work, caravan.
As we start to rebuild the business, we are exploring ways to ensure that we are better prepared to meet the changing needs of our community. You will see us grow our informal festival programme, building on the success of unravel, our knitting festival, and thread, our festival of textiles. We know these are occasions we can run well, that people enjoy the ability to come and go, to participate and to see both local and international quality content. We will make better use of our outdoor spaces, perhaps developing more events for our front lawns and courtyard. I also know we are going to invest significantly in our digital infrastructure so that we can better support the new businesses that emerge from the pandemic. But mostly we want to ensure the Maltings feels home to as wide a community as possible. We want to help the town better connect, share good ideas and be the best version of itself that it can possibly be.
Director Farnham Maltings