Arts centre loses fight to remain at its Stratford base

Stratford Circus Arts Centre is moving out of its hub in Theatre Square. Picture: Stratford Circus

Stratford Circus Arts Centre is moving out of its hub in Theatre Square. Picture: Stratford Circus - Credit: Archant

An arts centre is to leave its base after nine years in a “bittersweet” move.

Stratford Circus Arts Centre is due to vacate the building later this month after nine years in Theatre Square.

Lucy Atkinson, interim CEO of centre operator Stratford Arts Trust, said “Leaving our home of nine years is bittersweet.

“We have enjoyed creating many wonderful memories and were devastated to have to lose staff through this process.

“2020 has been an immensely difficult year for our sector, with many more challenges ahead.”

The venue alleged in March that Newham wanted to get it out of the building so it could base a youthzone there instead.

However, the local authority accused Stratford Arts Trust of misleading the public about the building’s future which Stratford Circus occupied at a peppercorn rent.

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Newham took the decision to change the usage of the building in February.

READ MORE: Row erupts over future of Stratford Circus Arts CentreStratford Circus announced on Monday, November 9 that it will continue to welcome the community with a digital programme including its E15 Jazz Sessions.

It will also continue to provide for the NewYVC Choir which works with youngsters across east London. Creative Schools and Colleges, an initiative which promotes creativity in education and led by the company across east London boroughs, will continue too.

Arts Council England has agreed to support the organisation with funding during the transition, meaning Stratford Circus can continue to work online.

Last year, it received 135,000 visitors including 9,476 children and young people. The organisation supported 72 artists and companies with over 50 per cent of artists from under-represented communities.

Stratford Circus has worked to offer creative experiences to people in Newham from toddlers to pensioners, young people and groups less likely to have access to the arts.

Georgina Phillippou, who chairs Stratford Arts Trust, said “The board is very proud of everything Stratford Circus has achieved for our vibrant community and beyond over the years.

“We are excited about exploring different ways of continuing to do this. The arts are now more than ever essential to our daily lives and to our wellbeing and we look forward to developing new and innovative ways of delivering a broad and accessible programme and working with our talented teams.”

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