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Stratford Circus Arts Centre threatened with closure following Mayor of Newham proposals

A shake-up in arts initiatives for the area could see the theatre complex close its doors, according to Stratford Arts charity

Stratford Circus Arts Centre
© Tomas Januska

The Stratford Circus Arts Centre in east London is being threatened with closure, due to new proposals by the Mayor of Newham.

The plans will transform the Arts Centre's building into a new "Youth Zone", as part of a scheme initiated by the Mayor of Newham to change up arts provision for young people in the borough.

In 2019, Stratford Circus generated around £1.58m in box office revenue, venue hires, Arts Council funding and more for Stratford, with more than 10,000 young people annually engaging with the east London complex.

According to charity Stratford Arts, the new Youth Zone proposals will see £1.2m invested in four Youth Zones across the borough over an unspecified timespan.

On Tuesday 3 March the Mayor announced at a Cabinet meeting that the charity operating the Centre would be served notice to quit the building, after discussions regarding the future of the building were shut down last autumn.

Tania Wilmer, CEO of Stratford Circus, said: "We're dismayed at the decision to close Stratford Circus, which is a nationally recognised cultural organisation with deep roots in the community. Crucially, it successfully generates the money needed to provide an ongoing cultural programme that truly serves the people of Newham. Delivering high quality arts provision is not cheap. Through the dedication of our staff we have been able to create a year-round programme that engages people at all stages of life.

"We are particularly proud of our youth work and had hoped to continue our dialogue with the Council on expanding this. It provides something irreplaceable and does so sustainably, and we invite the people of Newham to share what Stratford Circus means to them."

Wilmer hopes that the decision may be reversed through a newly launched #OurStratfordCircus to persuade the Mayor of Newham to change the proposals.

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