It is with deep regret that we announce that Stafford Borough Council has been unsuccessful in a bid which would have kept Camerata in residency at Stafford’s Gatehouse Theatre.
Manchester Camerata has been performing at the Gatehouse since 2002 with the local authority successfully securing money from the Arts Council England to fund the project.
But the latest bid for £47,369 each year - to fund a two-year series of classical concerts at the theatre - has been turned down. The project also included educational workshops with schools, young people, and adults with mental health problems.
In recent years, Camerata and The Gatehouse Theatre has attracted world-class artists such as Gábor Takács-Nagy and Nicola Benedetti to Stafford to sell out houses. However, box office income covers only £12k of the necessary income each year and without the Arts Council Funding, the series is not “sustainable financially.”
Councillor Mike Smith, Cabinet Member for Leisure, said it was sad that the successful partnership with the chamber orchestra for more than a decade had come to an end.
“For a number of years we have been able to secure grants which have enabled us to bring these world-class musicians to Stafford and it is very sad that funds will not be available to continue doing so.
“But the Arts Council has rejected our application this time because ultimately they want the project to be sustainable which, even with full houses, would not be the case.”
He added: “As always we will continue to provide the wide variety of musical performances at the Gatehouse Theatre – whether that is opera, pop, folk or classical – but unfortunately that programme will not include the Manchester Camerata.”
Bob Riley, Chief Executive of Manchester Camerata, said: “We’d like to thank Arts Council England for supporting the series in Stafford over the past 13 years. We’ve always received a fantastic welcome from the audience each time we play, and hope our many loyal supporters are able to come and enjoy Camerata in Manchester.
“Our presence at The Gatehouse Theatre has enabled wider community activity in partnership with the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Music Education Hub. This work has reached 2,700 people over the past three years, including 900 school children as part of In Harmony Telford & Stoke on Trent – one of six national In Harmony programmes.”