Arts and Community in Thornbury (ACT) praised by town leaders
THE DEVOTION and tenacity of a group of volunteers behind axed plans to turn the Armstrong Hall in Thornbury into a 500-seater theatre complex have been praised by town leaders.
Arts and Community in Thornbury (ACT) announced earlier this month its decision to shelve its £6 million community space project after it became clear the venue would run at a loss of around £250,000 each year for the foreseeable future.
Thornbury councillors, who also act as trustees for the Armstrong Hall, and were working in partnership with ACT on the ambitious scheme, commended its members for their drive and unwavering determination.
Cllr Maggie Tyrrell told her colleagues at a meeting of the town council last week: "It’s obviously hugely disappointing for them. I know that not everybody thought they would achieve their dream but they really put their heart and soul in doing that.
"It’s a shame that it’s not to be. We must acknowledge how hard they worked on this project so close to their heart. "They will continue to raise funds for arts in the town and we should all wish them well in that."
Fellow councillor Clive Parkinson added that a community complex would have been an asset to Thornbury.
"If it had been possible it would have been a great benefit to the town," he said. "They accepted in good grace that it was not feasible."
The Armstrong Hall Trust will now have to discuss the future of the venue and how to bring it into the 21st century. Before collaborating with ACT, the committee had produced its own improvement plans for the community and performance facilities.
Blueprints of possible refurbishment options had even been drawn up.
Already in the pipeline are brand new changing rooms at the venue. The Backstage Appeal launched to refurbish the Armstrong Hall has already raised £40,000, nearly enough to set the renovation work in motion.
Cllr Parkinson said: "For the last nine years ACT have been looking at their vision. Given the length of time that has lapsed, I think we need as a trust to look again at what we want for the hall.
"I suggest we look at the drawings that were proposed for the complex and see how they might be carried forward. We need to have a long hard think about the future."