Guildford’s Electric Theatre Sees New Future with Academy of Contemporary Music
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Kainne Clements (2nd from left), executive chairman of Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) with Paul Spooner (2nd from right), leader of Guildford Borough Council
The Electric Theatre, the community arts venue established in Guildford’s iconic electricity works in 1997, has finally found a new operator in the form of the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM.)
During a process begun in 2015, the future of the beloved-but-struggling venue was opened to bids from many organisations including the Guildford Fringe, Emmaus Church and the community arts venue the Boileroom, the ACM secured the lease this January. The new lease will now be removed from the Council's subsidy for the venue – saving, say the Council, the taxpayer and the Council money.
Securing the future of the venue and pledging to run it on a not-for-profit basis for the people of Guildford, Kainne Clements (Executive Chairman of ACM) said: ““In addition to our 'not for profit' commitment, which is, in fact, how ACM has operated its teaching provision for 21 years here in Guildford, we will work openly and transparently to make visible and reduce the costs of staging an event at The Electric Theatre through the absorption of overheads into our core business, increasing its accessibility for the community as we do so.
“It is an honour to be entrusted with the care and future of this much loved part of Guildford’s arts scene, and we are grateful to the local community and Guildford Borough Council for their support throughout the process.”
Lead Councillor for Heritage and the Arts, Cllr Nikki Nelson-Smith commented, saying: "Following careful consideration of the proposals against set criteria, we are extremely pleased to announce that ACM is to be awarded the lease to run the venue.
"Our main aim throughout this process has been to maintain the theatre as a performing arts venue with community use. Granting the lease to ACM is an excellent solution for securing the future of the venue and we are absolutely delighted to have achieved a positive way forward for the theatre - an important achievement for the working group, the community and everyone involved".
Mr Clements added: "Having our proposal recognised through the bidding process as the best and most viable option for the theatre means that its future is now safeguarded against any reduction of public subsidy in the area of arts and it can therefore look forward to a more prominent position within Guildford as the 'go to' venue for all kinds of community interaction and collaboration. We look forward to developing future strategy for theatre, with community at the very heart of it.”
Once the lease has been formally signed, work will begin on setting up the new performing arts venue, with ACM taking over later in the year.