The future of Birmingham’s Town Hall and Symphony Hall, and our future as the music charity responsible for them, looks very different from the plans we began the year with.
Over the last few years we have evolved into an organisation that earns more than 90% of its turnover from our trading activities and this supports every aspect of what we do, from presenting international superstars on our stages to supporting emerging talent and creating first musical experiences for children in local schools.
When this global pandemic struck, our income stopped overnight.
Being less reliant on public funding than most means we are more vulnerable to enforced closures brought on by the pandemic. We now need additional support from our community to continue working successfully.
We are so grateful for the generosity of our audiences who have already donated the value of their cancelled tickets to us but we still need help during these challenging times.
Throughout this period, we remain committed to inspiring a love of live music, through performance, participation and learning across this city.
The music plays on
Between March and June 2020, Town Hall Symphony Hall have accrued losses approaching half a million pounds from our earned income.
This figure will only increase the longer our iconic venues remain closed.
Concerts and events are at the centre of our business, and without them, we will be unable to provide the level of access to live music that so greatly benefits our community.
To adapt, our work has moved into the digital space, and with the support of our audiences and partner organisations, we can continue to grow and make new opportunities to enjoy and participate in music making digitally.
Our plans have had to change, but the music plays on.
The return of live music
The lost income from events poses serious challenges for Town Hall Symphony Hall and will continue to do so until these two world-class venues can reopen.
All the signs are that it will be a slow return to normality. We are unable to resume trading until we can operate our halls at full capacity, and we have no indication when that will be.
According to a study by Music Venue Trust, more than 60 per cent of people in the UK said they would not feel safe returning to live music events in the current climate.
When live music returns to our halls, we need audiences to return too. In the meantime, to deliver any sort of programme, we need support.
I am excited to tour the UK in 2021 with my new band. For me, thinking about this tour is like a light at the end of this dark tunnel that we are all in together. It gives me hope and confidence that we will rise above this collectively. And while it might seem that we are not moving forward swiftly, I know that we will reach the light again, be able to be together and listen to and play music together. I can't wait to be part of that moment for my fans and share this music live with you.Rufus Wainwright
The future of live music in Birmingham
Your support now will allow us to survive this desperate time.
As a result of funds raised prior to the global pandemic, the transformation of Symphony Hall’s public spaces has continued throughout the coronavirus outbreak. These spaces will host learning and participation projects, supporting a vital education programme that reaches over 20,000 people every year.
We want to fill these spaces with live music activity as soon as safely possible, kick-starting our future and enhancing the lives of the people of the West Midlands. The support of our audiences will help us realise this.