Dec 2022
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CRONXWIRE
Fairfield Halls announces its new General Manager

Jonathan Higgins is the new General Manager of Fairfield Halls.

BH Live, the Charitable Trust and venue operator of Fairfield Halls in Croydon – is pleased to announce that Jonathan Higgins has taken up the position of General Manager. With plans in place for new artistic programming and community focussed initiatives, Higgins will place engagement with Croydon residents at the heart of his planning.

Bringing with him 15 years’ experience managing venues, events and festivals across the North of England, from Carlisle near the Scottish Border, across The Lake District, and most recently for a cultural trust in Greater Manchester. Jonathan will bring his considerable experience working within the cultural social enterprise/charity sector.  This is to help develop Fairfield Halls and set it on a steady course as the venue emerges from the various challenges faced over the last two years.

Fairfield Halls – a versatile multi-disciplinary arts and entertainment space with state-of-the-art facilities in the heart of Croydon – will celebrate its 60th anniversary in November 2022. It will be a key partner of the London Borough of Culture in 2023. Venues at Fairfield Halls include the 809-seat Ashcroft Theatre, a world-class 1,802-seat Concert Hall – where Resident Orchestra London Mozart Players regularly perform - the Arnhem Foyer, The Recreational (750-capacity standing live music venue), the SAVVY Studio and Talawa Studio – housing two of the venue’s resident companies.

The venue has just confirmed that their partnership with the John Whitgift Foundation has been extended. The John Whitgift Community Cube – a glass-fronted space at the front of the venue will have a new Box Office space alongside a café bar, which will play host to a series of community events and activities, including for schools and senior citizens. There will also be internet enabled computers in the space, offered free of charge to all, to help alleviate digital poverty within the borough. The Cube Café will reopen with a daytime offer on 26 April.

Having successfully developed an international orchestral concert series during his time in Carlisle, Jonathan has already confirmed dates for a number of international symphony orchestras to play at the venue during 2023/24, with the full programme to be announced later in the year.

Jonathan Higgins said, As we build back from the devastation caused by the COVID-19 crisis, this new and exciting programme of signature concerts, alongside numerous stellar performances by our Resident Orchestra the London Mozart Players, will firmly re-establish Fairfield Halls’ classical programming, which is the backbone of shows and events that are to be staged in the Festival Concert Hall. I am also excited to work with our other resident companies Talawa, SAVVY and SLiDE, to explore new avenues of collaboration and ensure they remain a huge part of the Fairfield Halls family.”

Keen to embed himself within the local community, Jonathan has moved to Croydon and says that he is determined to involve local residents, schools and arts and community groups as much as possible, so that the community it serves help to shape the venue’s future.

“We have an internationally renowned concert hall, the excellent Ashcroft Theatre and a variety of versatile studio spaces, and they’re all there to be used, and as much as possible! As well as attracting major names, theatre shows and brilliant classical acts, I want to see diversity in our programming and more local children on Fairfield’s stages. I also encourage local choirs, amateur theatre groups, youth theatres and dance schools to get in touch, they should all feel able to come and be part of our future. It’s Croydon’s venue, a community venue and everything else comes after that.

In additional to the ‘day job’ Jonathan has served on the boards of a number of cultural charities with a similar ‘profit for purpose’ ethos that Jonathan says will be the bedrock of decisions relating to commercial engagements.  

“We have to be the very best we can be for the communities we serve. Whilst Fairfield Halls is recognised as one of South London’s most important arts centres, attracting major national and international touring product, it is critically important that we remain active, supportive and relevant to local people. Whether that be by offering more opportunities for young people to work at the venue, or by implementing a new range of community focused activities specifically dedicated to improving the lives of older residents, we have to think differently and be make sure that wise decisions are made, to make the best use of this excellent community asset. I am keen to hear from local amateur theatre groups, dance schools, choirs, bands, orchestras and any other organisation that may want to stage a performance at Fairfield Halls. Please do get in touch by emailing fairfield@bhlive.org.uk