Fairfield Halls needs to look to the future, not the past

CROYDON COMMENTARY: Politically inspired misinformation shared with  a residents’ meeting and ill-informed Twitter gossips threw into doubt  (again) the future of the Fairfield Halls last week. For ROD DAVIES, questions remain about the  Halls’ artistic programming

Fairfield RainbowFairfield Halls needs professional arts input.

What it doesn’t need are more councillors and local authority officers imposing their own agendas and prejudices, in spite of the market.

Fairfield Halls is basically an exceptionally good multi-stage venue that has been allowed to decline over decades. At best, it seems to have marketed itself towards mediocrity to survive.

Like venues in other major towns and cities, Fairfield Halls should be able to stage some world-class and distinctive events. There are even young arts professionals from Croydon who are doing this elsewhere who could be persuaded to contribute out of goodwill for their home town.

Why isn’t Fairfield Halls reaching out for young creative people to fill those largely redundant spaces?

These are links to one young Croydon person’s activities elsewhere. It may not be my cup of tea, but so what?

http://vimeo.com/37250491

http://soundsfromtheothercity.com/home/stages/deep-hedonia-faktion-st-phils-church/

http://www.getintothis.co.uk/2014/09/holly-herndon-deep-hedonia-the-hive-collective-syndrome-2-2-kitchen-street-baltic-triangle/

http://www.fact.co.uk/whats-on/current/deep-hedonia-mini-residency-ft-in-atoms.aspx

http://www.sevenstreets.com/how-deep-is-your-love-deep-hedonia/

With all the creativity that exists among Croydon people, Fairfield Halls should be rocking at the head of a foundation of activity.

Instead, it looks drab and lost.

Performers based outside of the south-east of England are looking for venues to perform to inaccessible (to them) London audiences. What is the Fairfield Halls management and the owners, Croydon Council, doing to build the networks to use this demand to raise Croydon’s profile?

 


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This entry was posted in Art, Ashcroft Theatre, Cinema, Comedy, Dance, Fairfield Halls and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Fairfield Halls needs to look to the future, not the past

  1. CODA, the well-respected Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association, finishes a four-night half-term run of Wind in the Willows tonight. But not in a studio theatre space in its own borough, but at the Charles Cryer at Carshalton. Why?

    Because it long ago became too expensive for community-led arts groups to hire space at the Fairfield Halls, leaving Croydon’s major arts venue stuck in a 1960s timewarp.

  2. davidcallam says:

    I agree with Rod.
    If we are to retain the Fairfield, and that seems the most likely option at the moment, then it should be run by professionals, for professional performers, with a professional marketing operation to draw in audiences from a wide area.
    Councillors and council officers are the last people we need meddling in management; if you want proof of that just look at the lacklustre programme foisted on potential audiences at the moment.

  3. Oddly enough I think that the programme for the Fairfield for the forthcoming few months is one of the best and most varied it has ever offered.

    The introduction of greater variety of films and of satellite transmissions from the Royal Opera House and elsewhere is a great innovation and much to be welcomed. The range of plays seems better than ever… somewhere, somehow, someone has been listening or there is someone new in the programming and commissioning chair. Whatever, its all more interesting than ever.

    The structure, however, is another depressing story as is the irritating variation of booking fees. Why these can’t just be incorporated in the price, once and for all, is beyond me.

  4. Rod Davies says:

    I think / sense that there exists a mindset among those who dominate Fairfield Halls that semi-pro / amateur / young performers are not worth supporting and in respect of the young are “TROUBLE”.

    But we know that young people in Croydon have created music & performance movements that reach far beyond Croydon, the Southeast, and UK – i.e. DubStep.

    There are venues such as the Green Dragon and Oval Tavern doing things to create a vibrant creative environment. Yet Fairfield Halls seems to stand aloof from these sterling efforts.

    It thus begs a fundamental question, “If a venue receives public money to support the creative arts surely it should be required to actively support local people to perform?” If it doesn’t do this then why are we awarding it any public funds, surely it is therefore simply a commercial venue that has to stand or fall on its business activities?

    We can argue about this until the cows come home, but…

    If Croydon does not invest in the up and coming generation of performers and use public facilities like the Fairfield Halls to extend the new generation of performers reach to a wider market, then this generation of young people and the next might as well get on the train / plane / bus, and get the hell out of Croydon, leaving it to rot in a mire of its mediocrity!

  5. I could not agree more!

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