Something for all at Lincoln Drill Hall this autumn

Lincoln Drill Hall launched its programme of events for the autumn period, with “something on offer for all”.

The new programme, which runs from the end of August until January (in order to include the pantomime), showcases a variety of different arts, plus a mix of shows, festivals and workshops.

The autumn brochure sees the return of the annual Lincoln Comedy Club and Frequency Festival, alongside Last Night at the Proms.

Other events include Pitch Black Macbeth — the famous Shakespeare play, but told in a darkened room amongst the audience, and My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver, a must-see for Doctor Who fans.

The brochure also detailed the Drill Hall’s choice of Christmas panto this year: Cinderella, which runs from December 12 to January 4.

Creative Director, Simon Hollingworth, said: “I’m excited about all of it, and that’s one of the joys of working here. It’s all different and so varied.

“For me, particulalr highlights are Motionhouse: Broken and Earthfall: Chelsea Hotel, two dance companies that push the boundaries of what’s possible to do on a stage, MacBeth in pitch black — it’s going to be terrifying but brilliant — and Frequency Festival, a festival of culture happening across half term. Finally the panto, Cinderella, which is probably the biggest highlight of the autumn programme.

“It’s the fact that we can go from 70s/80s party nights to a Jimi Hendrix tribute, to a festival or Motionhouse is what drives us. We try to get a balance of events and get as many people in as possible, encouraging them to be brave.”

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Braving tough times

Chief Executive Chris Kirkwood recently joined the Lincoln Drill Hall in his role, and around the same time the City of Lincoln Council announced it would need to make cuts to the venue’s funding.

However, this hasn’t deterred the team or caused any problems in bringing a range of entertainment to the city.

Chris explained: “At the moment, we are still very lucky; we are very well supported by our main funders at the City of Lincoln Council and Arts Council England. Like all organisations that are publicly funded, we’re living in uncertain times.

“Our current funding with Arts Council England runs through until 2015, and then we start to look at a new funding bid with them at the beginning of next year.

“I’m delighted that in principle, the City Council continue to support us. We know we have to help them with some of the savings they have to make. I know that whatever the reductions to the amount of money that they’re able to put into the Drill Hall, we’ll work closely with them to make sure that we manage those effectively.”

He added: “I’m confident that as our fundraising kicks in and we become more savvy in our ability to diversify where we raise money from, we’ll be able to thrive.”

In the last five months, Chris has seen a variety of great performances at the Drill Hall, but he is also keen to make his own key changes in the future.

He said: “Being appointed to the role [of director] was so exciting. I’ve always loved and supported the venue, I’ve brought my family here to things before I worked here. I have a real affinity with the place and I’m hugely proud of it.

“I’m hugely in awe of what we manage to do with our building. One of the biggest things about our building is its flexibility. One week we can have it a 360-seat theatre, and the next week, we can remove all the seats and have an empty hall to do something entirely different.

“The Drill Hall gives us that ability to do things that other art centres simply can’t do.

“The two big focuses at the moment are raising awareness of the building through our 10th anniversary work, and raising our profile as a charitable trust.

“Very few of our audiences realise that we are a registered charity and that we need to raise funds as any charity does, and we specifically looking to focus on our young people’s and children’s participatory work. That’s anything from the club we run on Monday mornings for toddlers, right through to the youth theatre we run with FishTank.

“It’s a slight shift in focus that I’m keen to make, especially in relation to the charitable status.”

If there was only one thing you could watch…

Looking through the brochure, Simon and Chris had two recommendations to make if they could pick only one show to see:

“The thing I’m most excited about is Rob Newman, who is part of the Lincoln Comedy Festival,” said Chris “[In the 90s] He really pushed the boundaries of comedy and was one of the first ones to really do arena comedy, which is now the norm.

“Rob Newman doesn’t tour very much, so I’m hugely excited that he’s touring and coming here.”

Simon added: “For me, it’s between two. I’d say Zest Theatre’s Gatecrash, which is a silent disco. I think it’s cutting edge really.

“Though I appreciate that’s for a young audience, so the other is Motionhouse. Broken is a show that you don’t need to know about dance, you don’t need to understand what they’re trying to say, anybody can go. They have incredible dancers and this amazing digital technology.”

The new brochures are available to pick up from the Drill Hall now, and the season calendar will be available online soon.