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Corn Hall goes on 'red alert' with light display

The Corn Hall signalled ‘red alert’ this week by illuminating itself red to highlight the crippling financial pressure put on by the pandemic.

Alongside thousands of arts and music venues across the country, the art centre in Nicholas Street turned to an ominous shade of red on Wednesday evening as part of the Red Alert Movement, demanding more funding for an industry that has been ravaged by the ongoing crisis.

Around half a dozen lights shone upwards onto the venue from evening to midnight, as staff stood outside fielding questions from intrigued passers-by.

The Corn Hall was illuminated red to highlight the plight of the arts industry (40366076)
The Corn Hall was illuminated red to highlight the plight of the arts industry (40366076)

“There were lots of people walking about, stopping, taking photos, and asking what it was all about, and we had a staff member on hand to give out information,” said Operations Manager Lee Johnson.

The venue, which takes 95 per cent of its revenue through the box office, can now only take in around a sixth of its seat capacity due to social distancing measures.

“We’re in a really vulnerable position – the funding that we have managed so far will see us through to autumn,” added Mr Johnson.

“There needs to be some funding from local government – if you look at other countries like Germany and France, their venues see a lot of state investment.”

The lights themselves were donated by Torben Merriot, owner of Blackwing, a stage lighting company in Battlesea Green, Stradbroke.

“It all happened very quickly,” added Mr Johnson. “He rang up and said he wanted to help, and we were the nearest venue to him – then he got here last night and set it all up. We’re very grateful to him.”

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