Stagers pull out of crumbling Stanley Halls

Croydon Guardian: Stagers pull out of crumbling Stanley Halls Stagers pull out of crumbling Stanley Halls

Performers have abandoned the historic Stanley Halls as a venue because the Grade 2 listed building is in such desperate need of repair.

Croydon Stagers, who have been putting on their annual Music Hall at the 107-year-old building for 34 years, have pulled out because it is in such bad condition.

It costs £2,000 a week to rent the halls for a theatre production.

Dawn Lambert, from the theatre group, said: “We loved the Stanley Halls as it gave a great Victorian atmosphere to the whole event, but the place needs a lot of money spent on it.

“We have been complaining about the lighting being dangerous and were pleased when we heard, three years ago, that new lights had been bought, but they have never been installed.”

The council said it has been unable to install the lights due to technical issues.

The balcony in the venue described as the “jewel in South Norwood’s crown”, cannot be used because it is too dangerous.

Mrs Lambert said: “When we arrived for our dress rehearsal last year we were told we could not use the balcony because it had been condemned - luckily we had not sold any seats up there at this point.

“One evening the fire alarm went off during the first half of the performance - a false alarm but no one on the staff knew how to turn it off.

“We were totally fed up with the situation and when we found an alternative venue, newly decorated with a brand new lighting system, half the price, plus the added bonus of a large adjacent car park - there was no choice.”

The council, who is waiting for final estimates on how much the repairs will cost, said it does not have the money to carry out the much needed repairs.

A council spokesman said “Stanley Halls is a 100-year old venue which is feeling its age and the venue is not in the best state of repair. Unfortunately, at the current time the council has not identified any potential funding source to carry out extensive maintenance on the building. This autumn we are hoping to address some of the building’s issues, including balcony and stage works. We would be delighted to welcome Croydon Stagers back next year.”

The stagers will be performing at Wickham Hall from August 31 to September 4. Call 0208 776 1064 for more information.

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