Barn Improvement 1994 – 1996


September – Wick News – The Barn

For some time it has been intended to make some improvements to stage facilities in the Barn Theatre.
With the increased likelihood of funding being available once the national lottery begins, plans are afoot.

Wick will have the opportunity to contribute ideas along with other users.

Current suggestions include:-

  • Deepening the stage – perhaps to the end of the old dressing rooms
  • Enlarging the proscenium arch
  • Large wings both side of the stage
  • Improved height clearances for moving scenery
  • Refitting the entire stage rigging
  • Building in the flexibility to use the larger stage as a rehearsal space and approx 80 seat studio theatre in the round.

Rather than tinker with the existing stage area, Ralph Dawes has drawn up rough plans to create an entirely new structure that would prove a stage/wing space of perhaps 40’ wide by 35’ deep.

Rather than tinker the stage area was pulled down – as Ralph Dawes advised

The outside could be made to fit in with the original Barn [the roofline would be lower] and would improve the rather unattractive view from Glebe Close.

Other possibilities would be a fly-tower and orchestra pit. Both are likely to be contentious and expensive and from Wick’s point of view would not seem worth pursuing.

Discussions are at a very early stage and anyone wanting to make any suggestions should talk to Ralph Dawes or Charles Porter.


January – Wick News – The Barn Hall Improvements

As mentioned in Wick News last September, a major project is being launched to improve facilities at the Barn Hall.

If successful, we will benefit from having a larger stage, the potential for a smaller studio theatre and many other benefits.

Initial drawings, prepared by Philip Comber are shown on this page.

1995 Wick News

An open evening is being held in January other centre users to discuss the plans with members of the centre executive.

Whilst the changes will bring great benefits to performers, there will be many other benefits for other centre users and the local community.

Likely costs are not yet known but could exceed £250,000. Full details of how to apply for Arts Council lottery grants have now been obtained. Our case should be strong but their grant cannot exceed 75% of cost so there will be some serious fundraising to be done.

A grant of £20,000 has already been offered by the Foundation for Sports and Arts [funded by the Pools companies] so a start has been made.

March – Wick News – S.C.A.M.P.I. Underway

The project to improve facilities at the Barn and enlarge the stage has stated in earnest – despite the rather flippant name! – S.C.A.M.P.I. stands for Southwick Community Association Millennium Project Implementation.

A team of five has been appointed by the association to steer the initiative. They will obviously be doing a great deal of the spade work [possibly literally!] but will need the help and support of many others if we are to end up with the superb facility that is planned. Yu may be able to bring a particular area of expertise to bear, and you will undoubtedly get a chance to help with the fund raising.

Wick has two members on the team, Bob Ryder and Charles Porter. Both are happy to discus SCAMPI if you have any questions or comments.

The latest position is that a planning application is being submitted and the help of professional consultants enlisted to ensure we get the best possible result.

May – Wick News – The Barn

The project to improve facilities at the Barn is swiftly moving forward, with the Project Team pressing on with key issues.

Wick involvement is high with Bob Ryder drafting the lottery bid, Dave Comber working on detailed building costings and Charles Porter approaching numerous local businesses with a view to getting business sponsorship.

The Wick committee [along with the other two resident companies] is currently considering an approach from the Community Association for a financial contribution to the project. The full commitment of user groups is considered vital if we are to have any chance of persuading the Arts Council to support the project.

July – Wick News – Project Update

  • Planning permission has been obtained for the work on the Barn Hall
  • The council of the Community Association has authorised a budget for a profesional feaibility study to be undertaken [a requirement of the lottery assessors]
  • £6,000 has been offered by two business sponsors, subject to a successful lottery bid
  • The West Susses County Council Arts Working Party received a presentation very positively and, despite a limited budget, are likely to give backing of some kind of financial contribution
North end of Barn Theatre. The inside brickwork will be a store under the stage.


January – Wick News – Poised to Bid

Following a green light from the Community Centre executive, the millennium project team are on the verge of submitting a full application to the Arts Council Lottery Fund.

A full costing of the work envisage has now been undertaken and the total cost – in 1997 – is estimated at around £740,000. This sounds a big number but in real terms is not unusual for this kind of work, and in the context of Lottrey funding, it is very little indeed according to Brian Harris, the professional Arts consultant working with the project team.

October – Brighton Argus – Whole Lotto help!

1996 October 17 – Brighton Argus

Southwick was celebrating today after scooping a £637,ooo National Lottery cash windfall.

The Arts Council awarded the cash to Southwick Community Association, which needs the money to upgrade facilities at its centre.

The chairman of the association, George Porter, said: “We are delighted with this award. We have known for a few days about this, but we were told to keep mum. The money will go towards rebuilding the stage at the centre and there will be improved facilities for performers, technicians and audiences.

We have had a team working on this project for a year now and it is great to see it all come to fruition. We always felt we had an excellent case for an award and the announcement shows how voluntary effort in the community can really be recognised alongside the much larger projects by bigger organisations.”

The centre, based in Southwick Street, is home to about 60 local community groups and three theatrical groups, who stage plays, musicals and operas each year.

It also stages comedy and poetry events and accommodates painting classes and photography work.

Staff want to completely rebuild the existing Barn Theatre with a larger, more modern stage and improved disabled access points.

Project coo-ordinator Bob Ryder said: ”It is the result of about 18 months’ hard work. We had to put our case together in a convincing way.

It has been a very long haul, but it has definitely been worth it. We are delighted it has all come together for us.

The new buildings will give us the opportunity to offer more events at the Barn Theatre and to a higher quality. They will also provide better conditions for local clubs and classes.”

Adur District Council has already committed £40,000 to the project and West Sussex County Council will make a £5,000 award.

The centre, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, still needs £30,000 for the scheme. It has already raised more than £200,000. Staff say the rebuilding work should take 18 months.

When all was said and done – a theatre for the new millennium