Market Rasen Festival Hall is set to be ‘a hive of activity’ this year as the council prepares to bid for more than £400,000 in grant funding to refurbish the building.
The town council appointed business associate Nicola Marshall specifically to organise events at the hall - and already wrestling, tea dances and theatre productions are on the diary for 2016.
It is part of a plan to prove the hall is essential to the town - in order to qualify for grants to fund the extensive work the building needs.
Ms Marshall said: “In order to secure the funding levels we need to refurbish and remodel the hall we will have to show hard evidence of need from the local community and businesses both in the town and the surrounding areas.
“Therefore, this year is all about increasing activity and attendance at the Festival Hall so that we can demonstrate the real need for this venue in our town.”
This year will see new activities and events launched and explored.
By popular demand, Fight Factory Wrestling is coming back to town on Friday, April 15 - and for at least three more shows later in the year.
Ms Marshall said: “Through our community consultation last year, people told us that they want to see more public events at the Festival Hall - they remember when the venue was buzzing and a hive of activity for the town.
“We’ll be working with local people and groups to re-invigorate the programme of events at the hall - we’re looking forward to welcoming the return of plays, pantos, concerts and entertainment for all the family.”
As well as public events and community activities, the council will be doing more promotion of the venue for private functions, business conferences, weddings and parties - a marquee lining transforms the main hall into a space for a function.
And Ms Marshall said: “The professional dance floor in the Main Hall is a magnet to regional dance groups and is a rarity in a community venue like ours.”
An ‘open day’ will be held at Festival Hall on Saturday, April 23 to show residents what potential the building has.
Ms Marshall said: “It’s about getting the doors open.
“We want to open Festival Hall and invite people from the town to come in and see what it can look like for wedding or parties.”
And Ms Marshall is pleased with how things are going so far.
She said: “I’m excited. I think it’s got off to a really good start.
“It’s about looking forward to the next 12 months of events for the town.
“It’s (the hall) a great asset in the sense it’s a great space. But it isn’t fit for the 21st century - it’s outlived its lifespan.
“We’ve got this space for the time being and we want it to be a magnet for social activity.
“If we try these things and people don’t turn up then maybe it’s not needed, if people don’t support it.”
Ms Marshall wants to involve the town’s residents in organising events - and would like to hear from people with their ideas. She said: “We need to involve the town.”
Last year Ms Marshall did a ‘feasibility study final report’ for Market Rasen Town Council. This said: “Structural surveys show that major renovation work and a comprehensive modernization programme are required; failing this the building will continue to deteriorate and incur costly repairs and maintenance.”
The hall, built in 1972, needs extensive work, including a new weather-proof roof, which is estimated to cost £100,000 alone. Anyone interested in helping to organise public events or to discuss using the hall, contact Ms Marshall on 01673 842479 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.