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World's oldest music hall faces closure

The world's oldest music faces closure after losing a funding bid.
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The world's oldest music hall faces being closed down after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) rejected a vital £3.8 million application.

As a charity, Wilton's receives no public funding, and instead relies on a mixture of "entrepreneurial spirit" to keep the business going, namely venue hire, sales at the bar and box office revenue. This bid would have been a lifeline.

The Independent reported that this was another major setback to the hall, which saw a similar application for funding rejected in 2007.

Open since 1858, if the team cannot deliver the essential renovations that are needed to the building; it faces not only closure but possible demolition.

Speaking to the Independent, Frances Mayhew, Wilton's music director, said that the refusal for funding was a "real blow" to the organisation.

He told the newspaper: "We understand that funds are limited at the Heritage Lottery, but Wilton's is literally falling down, and this was our last opportunity to get funding for repairs. They told us to try again next time, but we might not have a building left to save by the end of the year."

Following the rejection, £170,000 has been raised through personal donations, although whether it is enough to keep the hall going in the long term is questionable.

The team are now looking at all possible revenue-generating solutions to save the historic hall, with the actor David Suchet, a patron at the theatre, stating that if every Londoner donated just £1, the hall would "be saved forever".

The hall recently played host to Wild Beasts, an English band who know how to rock the electric guitar, and Hurts, a duo whose synth influenced sound has brought them many fans.

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Posted on 1 Jun 2011 10:43 to category : Music News

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