Stratford Circus charity to wind up after losing Arts Council funding

Stratford Circus is fundraising to help it continue running programmes such as its summer school, pi

Children in the summer school programme at Stratford Circus. - Credit: Archant

Stratford Circus plans to wind up in November, with a “legacy programme” to be put in place.

Stratford Arts Trust (SAT), which runs the centre, had worked with Arts Council England (ACE) to determine its future operating model after having to vacate its former base in Theatre Square last year.

However, ACE withdrew its National Portfolio grant as the charity's plans varied too greatly from the original funding agreement.

Stratford Circus Arts Centre hopes to raise �6,000 between June 23 and 30. Picture: Jon King

Stratford Circus Arts Centre had to vacate its base in Theatre Square after nine years last November. - Credit: Archant

Without the grant, SAT’s board of trustees decided the future of its work is best served by focussing on ensuring some of its projects thrive independently of the trust.

SAT chair Georgina Philippou said: “This decision was made after we examined all options for continuing to operate.

"We hope that by winding up now, we will be able to put in place a successful legacy programme, that will continue to support and provide arts to our communities for many years to come.”

Since 2011, SAT has annually delivered more than 300 accessible and affordable creative performances and educational activities to about 135,000 people.

It has offered a variety of productions and classes including theatre, dance, music, arts, creative writing and circus performances.

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Interim chief executive Lucy Atkinson said: “Despite the challenges we have faced over the last 18 months, SAT is financially solvent with an experienced and enthusiastic staff team.

“Making the decision to close down such an organisation was not an easy one.

“But, when we weighed up the options, it was clear that while we could continue our work in the short to medium term, the long-term future for some of our programmes would be better served by finding other organisations to take them on."

More information about the legacy programme will be announced in the autumn.

ACE’s London area director Tonya Nelson said: “Unfortunately, without the arts centre, (SAT) was no longer capable of delivering the core programmes that formed the basis of its National Portfolio funding agreement.

"The Arts Council values the work (SAT) has done with communities, young people, families and schools.

"We pay tribute to the organisation and its staff who have delivered a huge variety of work and inspired audiences through its many world-class performances.”