Orchestra reaches its finale

PUBLISHED: 12:10 13 April 2006 | UPDATED: 10:01 06 May 2010

The music has stopped at the Gordon Craig

The music has stopped at the Gordon Craig

THE music has stopped at the Gordon Craig Theatre. After more than 10 years at its home in Stevenage, the English Sinfonia has left because of financial struggles. They have been regular performers at the theatre, but dwindling audience numbers and reduce

THE music has stopped at the Gordon Craig Theatre.

After more than 10 years at its home in Stevenage, the English Sinfonia has left because of financial struggles.

They have been regular performers at the theatre, but dwindling audience numbers and reduced funding have forced the orchestra out of town.

English Sinfonia is a chamber orchestra that chose Hertfordshire as its home because of its proximity to London and the availability of musicians nearby.

Over past years, however, difficulties have arisen and Stevenage Leisure Ltd, which manages the Gordon Craig Theatre, has decided not to book the orchestra this year.

Bob Bustance, operations director at Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre, said: "Over the past few years audience attendances were dropping to such an extent that in autumn 2005 we booked just three concerts."

As well as losing concert bookings, the English Sinfonia was dealt another blow by Stevenage Borough Council, which stopped its funding.

"Given the pressure on the grant aid budget this year, Stevenage-based voluntary and community organisations must be given the highest priority for receiving funding." said principal community development manager Tim Weetman.

"Unfortunately English Sinfonia is no longer located in Stevenage and therefore their grant aid application was considered to be a low to medium priority."

English Sinfonia sold their offices in the town last December and moved to London.

Christine Lee, chief executive of English Sinfonia, said: "It's financially very challenging at the moment.

"It wasn't a wish to leave Stevenage in the slightest and we very much hope that it will be possible for us to continue.

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