At the AGM on 6 April this year, we had a presentation about the options for the replacement of the Assembly Rooms with a new performance venue. Basically, two options were being considered by the Council:
- A 'Music Box' very similar to the previous Assembly Rooms, with additional seating capacity, costing about £32 million or
- A flexible hybrid model incorporating a Lyric-style 1600 theatre and secondary space for 400 seats costing about £48 million. Option 2. would have produced a facility for top-rate touring shows plus concerts.
Well guess what? The Council have gone for the cheaper option 1, calling it a Music and Performance Venue, with no fly tower or other theatre provision and no proper provision for orchestral or choral concerts. See Music and Performance Venue option goes for Cabinet decision | Derby City Council Newsroom
The DATA Committee have been trying for nearly two years to get the Council to undertake meaningful consultation with the amateur theatre and music community, through our Association, over major arts developments in the city including the future of the Assembly Rooms site. Indeed, one of our committee members, Tom Banks, asked a question on this at the last Council and was given an assurance by the Deputy Leader - Councillor Rawson - that we would be consulted over the design of the new facility. Tom has emailed Councillor Rawson twice to ask when this consultation will take place and has not received the courtesy of an acknowledgment let alone a reply. And the first our Chair - Steve Dunning - heard about the proposed decision was when he was contacted by a BBC Radio Derby reporter!
DATA has now submitted this letter setting out our objections to the preferred option, and asking the Council to abandon proposal and undertake further work on a Hybrid Venue incorporating a 1500 seat Lyric-style theatre and concert hall.
Thanks to everyone who came out on Wednesday 4 October 2017 for the demonstration on the steps of the Council House. We has excellent coverage from TV, Press and Radio.
Thanks to our pressure, lobbying and media campaign, the Derby City Council Cabinet amended their decision to provide for more consultation on all of the options before a final decision is taken. And that is a major success for the amateur theatre and music community.
We intend to keep up the momentum to ensure that the consultation process is serious and meaningful, and we will continue to keep the issue on the radar of the media and the decision-makers.
See our special Facebookpage 'A New Theatre and Concert Hall for Derby'