‘Let us back to town hall’ plea

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Organisers of a popular 
festive concert are seeking an assurance they will get back to their usual venue in 2019.

A Bairns’ Christmas has been taking place in Falkirk Town Hall for over three decades.

A collaboration between Falkirk’s Caledonia Choir and Festival Chorus, along with Tryst Orchestra, it has proved such a big attraction over the years that a matinee and evening performance now take place.

But Falkirk Community Trust, which look after the town hall venue, has told the groups that in 2018 they will not be able to host the concerts in the usual December slots as a professional company will be performing a panto in the run up to Christmas.

Falkirk Youth Theatre, made up of around 100 talented local youngsters, will also have to axe its panto after 47 years.

This week, organisers of A Bairns’ Christmas urged trust officials to confirm if they would get back to the venue in 2019.

A spokesperson said: “This came completely out of the blue a few months ago. We are now desperately trying to find a suitable venue for next year, but would like an assurance that we can move back into the town hall in 2019.

“The only venue large enough appears to be St Mungo’s High School hall, but that is proving much more costly and the trust has only offered us £500 towards these additional costs.

“However, many of our audience, the majority who have been attending for years, rely on public transport and that isn’t easily accessible at St Mungo’s.”

They added that the sports facilities at the school would also be open to the public during performances putting an even bigger strain on car parking facilities.

“It’s far from ideal and we would like to know if the community is going to be barred from holding events in the town hall every December from now on. After all, it is supposed to be a community facility.”

Lesley O’Hare, Falkirk Community Trust’s culture and libraries manager, said: “We value the contribution that voluntary sector arts groups make in the Falkirk area and we are working with the organisers of the Bairns’ Christmas to address the concerns they have about relocating the concert – car parking, public transport and cost.

“We’ve been clear that the Trust will meet any shortfall incurred because the hire fees for St Mungo’s are higher than those at FTH.

“Our decision to introduce a professional pantomime is driven by our need to generate income which, in turn, will protect services and jobs throughout the year.”