Audiences Central

In November 2011, we sadly announced news of our closure. This was the official announcement:

It is with great sadness that the Board of Audiences Central announces that Audiences Central will cease trading on 31 March 2012.

As an Arts Council England regularly funded organisation (RFO), Audiences Central – the audience development agency for the West Midlands – has been enthusiastically supporting cultural organisations for many years, working with large, established theatres, to small independent practitioners. Delivering ground-breaking projects, such as The Big Picture, and establishing much-valued networks, its reputation as a leader in the field of audience development and engagement is well-earned.

In the spring of 2011, Arts Council England announced that the regional audience development agencies would not be part of the new National Portfolio, and it is this announcement which has led to the Board’s difficult decision.

The Board and all members of Audiences Central staff, along with external partners, have invested considerable time and effort investigating alternative business models in an attempt to ensure the organisation could continue without funding. Unfortunately, given the challenging economic climate and timescales for potential lifelines, this has not been possible.

We would like to stress that until closure, the staff of Audiences Central remain committed to delivering the exciting Arts Council England funded audience development project, ABC: Audiences Black Country; supporting organisations with membership and via regional networks; and offering advice, expertise and such in-demand services as Scene Central.

The success of ABC and other work will ensure that Audiences Central’s legacy will continue beyond April 2012, and the Board and team remain firmly committed to investigating ways that organisational support and the work delivered by the company will carry on after March 2012.

Peter Rees-Steer, Chair of Audiences Central said: “Audiences Central and the work it has successfully delivered has been a vital part of the regional arts community for many years, and so the decision to cease trading has been a deeply upsetting one for the Board and the staff, but one which we hope our members and clients will understand given the shift in funding environment and the wider economic climate.

“We will do everything we can to ensure that our services and the fabulously talented people who have made Audiences Central what it is today continue to support the sector, and thereby leave a lasting legacy for the organisation.”

12noon, 3 November 2011

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