Arts Council lifeline to boost Hippodrome fund
Monday 26th September 2016 @ 11:32 by Nigel P.
Ashton News
NEW LEASE OF LIFE: Tameside Hippodrome could be set for a bright new future.

Tameside Hippodrome:Funding problems have delayed the hoped for opening in August this year.




Campaigners for the Tameside Hippodrome have had tragedy turned back to high drama in their quest for funds to re- open the land mark theatre.

After fund organiser Keith Dalby Oldham bemoaned  the withdrawal of potential European funding due to the Brexit vote, it seems just like a Feydeau farce, as one door closes another opens giving the drama a new twist.

Keith informs us that Arts Council England (ACE) has opened up a large capital grant fund with potential awards of between half a million pounds  to £5 million, which is just the type of sum needed if the theatre is ever to have a realistic chance of re-opening.

Oldham who set up the charitable trust to raise funds and manage the 112-year-old theatre, reveals that in a change of heart the Arts Council England, has decided that it now has grant funding for large capital projects.

Keith Dalby Oldham told us The Hippodrome has been “invited” to apply, this could mean that if successful the trust could realistically reach its target of £7.2 million pounds.

Dalby Oldham said:” We have just over a half of our target figure including both money contributions and pledges.

Mr Dalby Oldham was reluctant to give an exact figure in the trust coffers saying:” We have around £2.2 million in pledges if they all come in.”

“I would rather not give a figure on the overall sum,because I believe that could be counter productive, people might think ‘oh they have nearly reached their target now, they do not need my donation any more.’

In lieu of any confirmed figures if the fund is already at the halfway mark of £7.2 million with pledges amounting to £2.2 million, then a conservative guess puts the figure in the bank of around a million pounds.

Tameside Council who actually own the theatre building has entered into a rolling lease agreement with the Friends of the Hippodrome company ‘The Hippodrome limited’ to run the theatre.

Despite the postponement of the theatre’s projected opening date on August the 19th this year, Mr Dalby Oldham remains firmly upbeat he said: “I am sure we can make it happen, lets face it there are 215 ,000 people in Tameside half of them want to see a show, the other half want to be in it.”

Oldham goes on to explain in a press release issued prior to the recent Arts Council decision, that changes in government policy meant money from grant funding organisations such as Arts Council England earmarked for the Hippodrome has been withheld.

Dalby Oldham said in the statement: “We were due to receive the first part of this(funding) in September 2015.

In July 2015 the Government pulled the plug on arts funding, leaving ACE with only enough money to support existing projects.”

He goes on to tell supporters :” I didn’t say it would be easy – I said it would be worth it!

The Tameside Reporter understands from the Arts Council that the large grant fund  has £88 million to disburse nationally. The fund opened for bids in July and will announce its decision in October.