Orangery's Future in Doubt
The future of the Orangery in Wakefield is in doubt following an announcement by Beam that it will stop programming or booking events at the venue from Easter.
The Grade II* listed site, located next to Westgate Station, has been run for many years as an arts, education, business and social venue. The closure means that the building will not host regular events although existing bookings will be honoured.
This does not affect arts charity Beam who run The Orangery and whose current lease runs to Spring 2016.
As well as being the base for the popular Wakefield Lit Fest, The Orangery has been the site of major artworks by Richard Woods and other international and local artists, and for a regular programme of music, visual arts, performance, heritage, and family friendly events. The site is owned by Wakefield Council.
Robert Powell, Director of Beam, said:
“The Orangery is a very special Wakefield place we all love. But for an arts charity it’s expensive to keep open on a regular basis. So with great reluctance we’ve decided to close it as a venue. Hopefully this is temporary, but Beam just can’t carry the running and management costs on its own.
“Beam’s work as a creative company carries on. In fact, we’ve just been offered nearly £90,000 in grants from the Arts Council for an exciting new programme called ‘Arts in Place’ and to take Wakefield Lit Fest to other parts of the District over the next two years. We’ll stay based at The Orangery this year and continue our creative work locally and nationally, including the next Lit Fest.
“Thousands of people have enjoyed The Orangery. It’s a unique part of the city’s creative life and it’s a shame to see it closed as a cultural venue given the city’s growing reputation as a centre for the arts.
“The Council have always been very supportive. We’re talking to them about future plans for the building and we are hopeful that a long-term solution can be found. In the meantime we’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has ideas about how The Orangery might be kept open.”