Requiem has sounded for Mozart Players’ Croydon future

Turtle’s. The Mela. Nestle. The Warehouse Theatre. The Riesco Collection. Allders. The David Lean Cinema.

Next, the London Mozart Players?

It is looking increasingly likely that the London Mozart Players will soon be added to the litany of Croydon institutions that have been forced to leave the borough or close due to a sorry combination of planning blight and poor local authority management.

As Inside Croydon reported earlier this week, a funding crunch has forced the LMP to part company with its professional managing director, Simon Funnell.

And following Thursday evening’s performance at the Fairfield Halls, where the LMP has been the resident orchestra for 25 years, Funnell was forced to admit, “I don’t see how the Croydon link can be maintained.” As things stand, the London Mozart Players have no concerts planned at the Fairfield Halls for the 2014-2015 season.

The council’s generous funding for the LMP had been in part due to the backing of the deputy leader of the local Tory Party, Councillor Dudley Mead, who provided funds through his private business interests as well as lobbying successfully for council funds.

The LMP performing at the Fairfield Halls: they have no programme in Croydon for 2014-2015

The LMP performing at the Fairfield Halls: they have no programme in Croydon for 2014-2015

But a Town Hall grant that stood at £284,000 as recently as 2011 has now gone, while the departure from the borough of Nestle following a spat with the council over building development removed another important benefactor.

The London Mozart Players are also no longer funded to provide outreach work with local state schools. Dwindling and ageing audiences at the Fairfield has also become an issue – on Thursday, the concert hall was only half-full.

“The orchestra does not want to go from Croydon,” said Peter Wright, one of the orchestra’s trumpet players who will be taking over the organisational work when Funnell leaves.

“We are regenerating too, Croydon and the LMP can face their problems together and we can be part of the Croydon regeneration.”

The London Mozart Players are due to perform one concert a month at the Fairfield Halls through until May 29 – a date which comes seven days after the local council elections, where Mead is backing a Conservative scheme to use £3 million of public money to offer a bribe to the electorate, worth all of 50p per week per household. Whether the orchestra has any future in Croydon beyond that date may be something else determined at the ballot box.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in 2014 council elections, Art, Cinema, Croydon Council, David Lean Cinema Campaign, Dudley Mead, Education, Fairfield Halls, London Mozart Players, Music, Riesco Collection, Schools, Warehouse Theatre and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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