Redbridge Drama Centre celebrates new expansion amid concerns for future
The Redbridge Drama Centre celebrated a new extension on Saturday with music, dance and circus acts – but campaigners are concerned for its future.
The centre in Churchfields, South Woodford, has a new building including a foyer, extra rooms and circus space funded by the Arts Council and Redbridge Council.
But Redbridge Council is cutting its annual �292,000 subsidy completely by 2015.
The Friends of Redbridge Drama Centre were set up to keep the centre going.
Secretary Pankaj Pathak said: “The expansion was always on the cards, our job is to make sure it stays.
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“We understand all political parties have got their cuts, we understand there needs to be cuts, but cutting our funding to zero over three years isn’t the way to go.”
Mr Pathak said they hope to raise funds by hiring out new rooms for conferences and functions.
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Councillor Robin Turbefield, cabinet member for leisure and youth services, said the centre’s future looked “rosy in some respects”.
He added: “There’s always concerns that when we have to cut things it will be the end of something but often the change in philosophy actually benefits the organisation.”
He said the drama centre team have “excelled” in finding new ways to fund the facility.
An estimated 200 people visited the centre for Saturday’s open day.
Children took part in a myths and monsters drama workshop and enjoyed an imaginary space bus ride, while adults tried presenting a television weather forecast and joined in with zumba, Bollywood dancing and circus skills.
Mr Pathak said: “It was a superb day, we were overwhelmed by the number of people there and delighted by the support from the public.
“The centre can expand its own services, like the circus skills, which is really exciting, and the other rooms can be hired for conferences and classes.”
The Mayor of Redbridge, councillor Muhammed Javed, launched the Redbridge Youth Theatre Festival at the event.
For information on festival performances, visit www.redbridgedramacentre.co.uk.