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Future plans unveiled for Malton's Milton Rooms
As well as the direction the facility will take regarding the scope of future productions, it is also hoped the Milton Rooms will become a permanent home to the Malton Museum and Woodhams-Stone Collection.
Stephen Shaw, who was elected as chairman of the Milton Rooms management committee in July, said their consultants were now preparing to put forward a second set of option appraisals after the first three were not considered to be sustainable.
“These options will be discussed with the trustees and Ryedale District Council,” he said.
“If one of these can be agreed, then a full business plan can then be developed for the Milton Rooms.”
Mr Shaw said Nick Bagnall and Garry Cooper, who resigned as artistic directors of the Milton Rooms in May, were still involved in the option appraisal.
The pair, who had spearheaded plans to revive the venue as a major arts facility for the region over the past two years, cited differences with others involved in the running of the venue for their resignations.
“Meetings have been arranged so they can attend and they continue to be involved in the process. However, their future depends on the outcome of the option appraisals,” he said.
Mr Shaw said there were two different directions that the Milton Rooms could take – it was about which ethos.
“Is it arts with a community aspect or community with an arts aspect?” he said.
“If we do take the artistic vision that will require funding from the Arts Council on a regular basis for productions that the council would like to see,” he said.
“It would also require an in-house artistic director and office back-up whereas at the moment the Milton Rooms is run by volunteers.
“My concern is that if we follow that line we also have to compete with other arts centres in the area, including Helmsley and Pocklington, but I am happy to receive local people’s comments.”
Mr Shaw said he was delighted the Malton Museum and Woodhams-StoneCollections were to be given use of the parish rooms to the rear of the Milton Rooms as part of a pilot scheme.
“One of the rooms will be available for displays and the other for interactive events such as seminars, talks and group visits,” he said.
“Bringing the two collections together will enable the display of more than 2,000 years of the town’s history from pre-Roman to the present day.
“This is a golden opportunity for the town and will help increase footfall and visitors to the town on a regular basis.”
Mr Shaw said they wanted to attract more people to hire the Milton Rooms and he was looking at a new pricing structure to encourage short-term use.
“The Milton Rooms is there for the community to use and there is no point having the hall standing empty,” he said.
“I also want to encourage local business to sponsor events which is a wonderful opportunity to promote themselves as well as supporting the venue.
“We are also looking for more volunteers to work in every area of the Milton Rooms and the museum. We have a great team but we would always welcome more.”
Mr Shaw said they were still being advised by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust regarding funding.
“Ryedale District Council have been incredibly supportive over recent months,” he said.
Mr Shaw said he remained very positive about the future of the Milton Rooms.
“A lot has been learned over the past few months,” he said.
“We have a tremendous team who are very enthusiastic and excited about the building and developing a future programme.
“The Milton Rooms is at the heart of our community and the future direction it takes must reflect that.”
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