Over the last three years we’ve experienced some incredible live music on our stage. Our last concert before lockdown, with Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Guy Johnston, was as good as it gets.
But like many other music venues, we’re going through the most difficult time.
We are working around the clock to fight this; to find new ways to weather the storm; to develop Covid-safe operating models; and to come out stronger on the other side of this global crisis.
Meanwhile, we’re supporting the music industry by working with Manchester’s musicians, enabling them to rehearse and record safely in The Stoller Hall. This generates some small income for us, but it is not enough to keep us going forever.
We’re looking at other hybrid events and partnerships that will enable Manchester’s independent music scene to keep going, in a world where nothing is certain.
We know that live music will return eventually but, for now, not as we know it. For some time, our programme and level of activity will be very different as we adjust to the new live events world.
We know we cannot deliver a full programme of live events until 2021. With no certainty of when we will be able to welcome full-capacity audiences back to the venue, heart-breaking redundancy consultations continue with The Stoller Hall’s passionate, talented, live events team.
In the meantime, we eagerly await news of how the Government’s £1.57bn package will be distributed across the sector.
And, as a charity, we are reaching out to all our friends, partners and audiences to ask for your urgent help too. A donation of any amount would be gratefully received and will help to make sure that our venue remains open and we come back stronger when the time is right.
We also thank everyone who has supported us so far. Every donation is making a difference.
We are devastated to announce that The Stoller Hall has begun redundancy consultations with some of the venue’s dedicated staff, as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
This has been a heart-breaking process for everyone. To each and every one of us, The Stoller Hall is not just a job, but a passion.
We have little choice but to take measures now, in order to ensure our much-loved venue can continue to operate post-lockdown, once it is safe to do so. These measures are, however, extremely upsetting.
Only weeks ago we celebrated our third birthday as a vital, unique part of the region’s music scene. When we opened The Stoller Hall doors in 2017, the venue was hailed as the UK’s finest music venue of its kind, acoustically, for classical chamber music.
We have been growing our revenue year on year, and prior to lockdown we had achieved our best financial period to date.
Covid-19 has stopped this progress in its tracks, and devastated our venue finances.
The government’s furlough scheme has been vital to us and our staff in recent weeks, but this is reducing from next month, and is due to come to an end in October. There are no other financial support packages currently available to us from the UK Government.
Therefore, without live music ticket sales, bar spend and our other revenue streams, we are making no income. As a result, we have had no choice but to begin these most upsetting redundancy conversations with our loyal, creative and dedicated team of people who work in front of and behind the scenes at The Stoller Hall to bring live music to our audiences.
The Stoller Hall is the live music and concert venue arm of Chetham’s School of Music, with whom we share some of our purpose built facilities in Manchester city centre. As well as providing a remarkable venue for hosting the world’s leading classical, folk, jazz and contemporary artists, our relationship with Chetham’s creates special opportunities for some of the UK’s best developing young musicians to perform in front of live audiences.
It is important that we emphasise that this announcement does not impact any of the school’s students, teachers or support staff. The school – which has continued to teach students through an incredible remote learning programme – is able to ensure that all its teaching and support staff roles are secure.
The Stoller Hall team are heartbroken to be unable to provide the same guarantees to our live events team. We will fight all the way to find solutions to avoid redundancies wherever possible but we will need help.
In recent weeks we have been incredibly thankful to everyone who has supported us by donating to The Stoller Hall emergency fund and supported our campaigns to generate funds.
If you are able to offer us any more support, you can do so here. Every donation makes a difference to our ability to protect jobs, helping us to bring live music back to our audiences when it is safe to do so.
Most importantly, we plead with the government to urgently provide our sector with a financial support package. We aren’t the first live performance venue or arts organisation to announce news like this, and we won’t be the last. Without public support the future of performing arts and live music in this country is uncertain.