The David Lean Brand

A Brand, not a Cinema

Never let it be said that Croydon Council does not spin anything and everything possible.

The Croydon Cabinet agreed a two-year annual grant deal of £750,000 per year for the Fairfield Halls on 16th May the Council added two unusual grant conditions:

2.3 The following conditions will be applied to this grant aid:
• Provision of an agreed business plan which sets out how revenue
subsidy levels will be minimised.
• A re-branding of the cinema programme to enable continuity of the David
Lean Cinema brand.


It is good that the Council Officers inserted that key word ‘brand’ because it is not a term used by the politicians (Conservatives) running Croydon Council.

It is also amusing to see the other clause. When will this plan be agreed? Will money be handed over before it is ‘agreed’?

It also includes a curious reference to an extra charge of £125,000 this year from the Croydon Council Pension Fund to the Fairfield Halls. The detail of this is missing… However, the impact of this is that it reduces the grant from £750,000 to £625,000 per year. Also missing is how the Fairfield will use this enhanced grant, and also missing is an assessment of the Fairfield’s financial position. The Fairfield, according to the Charities Commission Website made a loss of almost £1million last year.

Will £625,000 be enough to bridge this gap? We very much hope so, but once again this demonstrates that the Council needs to have an Arts strategy for the whole of Croydon and for all arts organisation (both professional and amateur).

If that funding gap ends up being more than £625,000 (excluding the pension roundabout) will the Council bail out the Fairfield? or will it be allowed to collapse?

The Closure of the Clocktower was shocking enough…




David Lean Campaign

Congratulations to those involved in the campaign to Save the David Lean Cinema from extinction.

As you may know, the local Council closed our wonderful Croydon Clocktower and the integral David Lean cinema back in April. The politicians in charge at the Council have tried to spin that the David Lean is alive and well, just being moved across the road to the Fairfield Halls.

Ah yes, the Fairfield Halls – that small, intimate venue, with an art house film offering (not). Their current film programme includes the King’s Speech and The Young Victoria. Great films, but hardly the daily offering that was programme of the David Lean.

Time to support the campaign and make the Council reverse this dreadful cut.

Full details on this from the people at Inside Croydon

  • The first meeting of the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign is next Wednesday, June 22, from 6.30pm upstairs at the Green Dragon pub on the High Street (thanks to the nice people at the Dragon, at no hire charge to the organisers).
  • Adrian Winchester has established a Facebook group for the Save The David Lean Campaign. Click here for its news and updates.
  • Follow updates on Twitter: @SaveDavidLean
  • And sign the official petition by clicking here.

Croydon spins David Lean Closure

Inside Croydon covers the latest rubbish from Croydon Council about the David Lean Cinema

The David Lean cinema has been closed down by the Council in the last round of savage Arts Cuts. The equipment is being sent over to the Fairfield Halls.

The Director of Culture at Croydon is quoted as making clear that  no agreement has been made with the Fairfield Halls, despite the announcement by the Cabinet Member.

The Staff have all been sacked. The programme has been ceased and the ‘Last Picture Show’ will take place on Thursday April 21st . Full details HERE

Once again Croydon is being Spun a line that attempts to show that Cuts are being made to the funding, but the output will be exactly the same. Simply Not True.  The Croydon Advertiser slavishly follows the Cabinet Members announcement, without checking any of the relevant facts.

Well done for Inside Croydon for exposing the facts behind the latest ‘non announcement’

Coda sunshine in Fairfield Halls

Amongst the gloom of Croydon Council closing down the Arts, the latest offering from CODA popped into my inbox.

Instead of Croydon having an array of Arts offerings it is now reliant on this sort of production. I’m delighted they are still around, but sad that they are now the main standard-bearer for the performing arts in Croydon with the Closure of the Croydon Clocktower and near silence from the Council on any grant funding for the Warehouse Theatre, the Council seem quite happy to just have the Fairfield Halls and groups like CODA.

Though it is interesting to note the disparity in expenditure over income at Fairfield in the year to March 2010 of £972,140 – see Charity Commission web site for further details

How they and Croydon Council intend to bridge this gap in future years is simply not known, the Council has announced a cash injection of £400,000 a year but that still leaves the other £572,140 to recover from.

I am hopeful the Council wont allow the Fairfield Halls to close, but I thought that about the Clocktower…


CODAs new play for March 2011 show is The Graduate

The film of the Graduate is widely regarded as one of the ‘best’ pieces of cinema ever made. Mike Nichols’ direction of Buck Henry and Calder Willingham’s screenplay brilliantly conveys a long hot summer in the life of young Benjamin Braddock. In fact, it ranks at number 7 in the American Film Institute’s “100 Years… 100 Movies” and in 1996 was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

So Terry Johnson’s stage adaptation was a brave move, given the popularity of the original film. However, for my money it is, if possible, even better. He has taken the dry, obscure wit of Henry and Wallingham’s screenplay and refined it further to create a play that ranges from slapstick to high drama without one ever negating the other.

CODA are now bringing this to Fairfield Halls, Croydon, on 17th-19th March 2011 with daily evening performances and matiness on Thursday 17th and Saturday 19th March.

We would appreciate it if you would place our attached advert on your notice board to help promote the local arts scene. (please note that this show does contain some nudity)

Regards and we look forward to seeing you there!

Publicity Manager


Devastation of #Croydon Arts

The news that the local council are shutting down Croydon Clocktower Arts Complex is the biggest blow to the Cultural offering in this town in living memory.

The local press has documented this well, with excellent coverage. All with no real changes from the Council.

The opposition councillors have been opposing these cuts, but an interesting blog article has appeared from Councillor Timothy Godfrey who asks a series of questions about the decision.

In the world of local government, the decision can’t be implemented until it has been reviewed by councillors on the Scrutiny Committee – however it is understood the Committee will vote on party political lines and the decision is likely to be endorsed. It does offer a second chance for the decision to be amended or looked at again by the ruling Cabinet, but sources tell me that this is very unlikely. The committee has 15 Councillors – 10 Conservative and 5 Labour.



£18million buys you…

In what looks like a ‘early announcement’ the Council has announced it is to plough £18million into the Fairfield Halls.

Sources tell me that they don’t yet know where this figure came from, so presume it is a figure that the Council feels it can spend on the building it actually owns.

The Croydon Advertiser article looked like it was a straight copy of a press release – but no press release has been issued by the Council Press Department – Council press notices HERE

This announcement follows the announcement back in October that the ‘grand scheme’ planned by external consultants was ‘unaffordable’.

And the March announcement of £1million a year for maintenance

And the January 2010 announcement about consultants being appointed to work up a scheme/options for the council. This costed over £100,000 and the details remain secret. But should detail what can be achieved for the £18million investment.

So, once again, it looks like the Council is announcing something that does not quite add up.

Investing in the fabric of the Fairfield is really important, but we need the product inside the Fairfield to be invested in at the same time.

Alongside the cuts being proposed at the Clocktower and Community Arts programme, the lack of investment in the Warehouse Theatre, the question has to be asked What is Croydon Council up to?

Where is the vision and the action plan for the Arts in Croydon?

What has happened to the £1million a year for maintenance? is this rolled up in the above announcement? How much of the £18million will be spent on maintenance back logs and how much will be spent on improving the facilities? The Advertiser report indicates work will be done on the acoustics (supposedly world-renowned already) and a remodelled Arnhem Gallery.



Arts and Culture at Peril in Croydon

Croydon Council has published a set of papers aimed at ripping apart our cultural offerings in Croydon. Every option is quite devastating for the cultural life of our Town.

Proposals include:

Shutting the Clocktower down completely – this would include sacking all the staff that work in the museum, gallery, education and outreach work.

Closing the Local Studies Library

Ceasing the ‘Croydon Summer Festival’

It is understood that further proposals will come forward very shortly that will ‘rationalise’ the Library service, inevitably meaning that most libraries will go very part-time or be closed down.

The Council proposals were passed by Cabinet and are now out for ‘consultation’

Link to the The full meeting Agenda

Link to the specific Agenda item (Arts & Heritage Options) This is a PDF link

The campaigning Croydon Guardian has launched a full-blown campaign to save the Local Studies Library. This campaign by our local paper must be applauded.

The Croydon Advertiser carried the story on their front page, concentrating on the loss of the Summer Festival

Political dividing lines seem to be opening up, and this can only be good for the Arts in Croydon. The more pressure that can be brought the better. We particularly welcome the quote from Labour’s spokesperson on Culture who rounded on the proposals as follows:

However, Councillor Timothy Godfrey, Labour’s spokesman for culture and sports, said the cuts would drive businesses away from Croydon.

He said: “This will firebomb the town.

“Drastic cuts to arts services will have a direct impact on jobs and investment in Croydon.

“Nestle, the largest private sector employer in the borough, is already considering leaving the town because it doesn’t think it has anything to offer its staff.

“To lose the Clocktower, the Summer Festival, or our museum would turn Croydon into a ghost town.”


These are serious issues for our Town. Will Croydon go backwards to pre 1977 days and just have the Fairfield Halls to provide the cultural offering in our Town? Or will the Fairfield be next on the list of  ‘necessary’ cuts.

Why 1977? this was the year that the Warehouse Theatre was founded by Sam Kelly, Richard Ireson, and Adrian Shergold. The Croydon Clocktower opened in 1994. The Summer festival followed soon after, emerging from the founding of the Asian Mela by adding a ‘World Music Party’, Green Fair and much more. The history of this festival needs a full article written!