A great success. That is how organisers of the Festival Hall open day have described last week’s event.
The aim of the day was to showcase what the hall and its user groups have to offer ahead of funding bids being submitted for a planned £400,000 renovation project.
“The day was a real success in drawing in people to see the venue, view the facilities and participate in or watch the activities,” said Nicola Marshall, who organised the event.
“My aim was to get 100 people through the door and numbers far exceeded that.
“Feedback from visitors was very positive.
“There were nice comments about the marquee lining and the dance floor - ‘premium dance floor in the County!’ ‘Splendid Day!’ were just two of those we received.”
Visitors were treated to a display by the U3A Turkish dancers, community singing, a puppet show and an excerpt from Midsummer Night’s Dream, very fitting as it was the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
“It was great to see the stage being used,” added Ms Marshall.
“We are going to be improving the stage lighting in the near future to make it more usable by visiting touring companies and cultural groups.”
Also launched on the day was the Friends of the Festival Hall, which will help drive plans forward.
“There was quite a bit of interest in the Friends of Festival Hall – volunteers to help make our future plans a reality,” said Ms Marshall.
“This is the first step in getting a stakeholder group together to help run the venue and support my efforts in grant funding, activities, promotion and marketing.”
Ms Marshall was also keen to make clear the open day could not have happened without volunteers and this is an important way forward to make the hall viable for the future.
“There is clearly an appetite for events at the hall,” said Ms Marshall.
“It is all very well people saying what they would like to have, but we need people to come forward and say ‘I can arrange that’ or I can run that’.
“Focus now needs to be on making these things happen.
“People want to keep the hall, but they need to understand it is a big investment and to be successful with funding we need to have the evidence there is a real need.
“We need to build on this now and maybe later in the year look at putting on another event to showcase local groups.”
l Keep in touch with what is happening at the Festival through the venue’s Facebook page.
Anyone interested in helping or joining the Friends of the Festival Hall can get in touch with Nicola Marshall by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01673 842479.