£8m Stratford Circus Closes Doors After Two YearsDate: 28 August 2003
Stratford Circus, the £8m purpose-built centre for performing arts in east London, has closed just two years after its high-profile opening in June 2001 (See News, 15 May 2001).
According to today's edition of industry newspaper The Stage, the theatre went into voluntary liquidation following the withdrawal of annual £223,000 of local authority funding and the simultaneous rejection of its Arts Council bid for recovery funding. All of the theatre's staff have now been made redundant.
Only the capital's third site, after the Barbican and South Bank, to be built specifically for the arts, Stratford Circus was the product of what was, at the time, the largest-ever Lottery grant in outer London. Situated in Theatre Square, adjacent to the Theatre Royal Stratford East and Stratford Picture House, the three-storey Circus contains four performance spaces.
At the time of launch, the plan was to deliver up to 2,000 events a year, including touring shows from across the performance spectrum, plus a full programme of classes, workshops and community events.
Peter Conway, Stratford Circus' acting chief executive, told The Stage this week that the launch business plan had proved unrealistic. More recently, discussions fell through to merge the Circus with the Theatre Royal, which has itself been facing financial difficulties.
- by Terri Paddock