Arts Centre rises from the ashes
A fire that destroyed large parts of the Battersea Arts Centre in London wasn’t enough to stop two Saturday night performances going ahead just one day after the blaze ripped through the building. It is estimated that 30% of the first and second floors of the 1893 building were damaged by the fire, including the Grand and Lower Halls while the roof also collapsed. As the name suggests the Grand Hall is the building’s biggest theatre space so the loss of access to it denies the Centre one of its main earners at a time when funds are needed to repair the damage.
Step up the Great British public. Within hours of an appeal being set up by the National Funding Scheme to help restore the Arts Centre, more than £38,000 had been raised. Meanwhile the Chancellor has pledged a £1 million renovation grant in the recent Budget. The Centre itself is also able to do its bit for the cause as thanks to the front half of the former Battersea Town Hall being left untouched by the fire and the eye-catching octagonal glass dome being saved by firefighters, the Grade II listed building has been declared safe, allowing performances to be staged. As they say in the industry, the show must go on.