Members of the performing arts community will be meeting with the Economic Development Minister next week to discuss the future of the hundreds of 'musical chairs' stored at Fort Regent.
Both the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Deputy Kirsten Morel, and Paul Milbank, the Policy Lead for Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport, will be attending the next meeting of the Performing Arts Development Group (PADG) at the end of September.
Ryan Williams, who chairs both the Green Room Club and the PADG, said that he has his "fingers crossed" that this meeting will result in the Government confirming that they will offer the group first refusal if the chairs are sold.
Mr Williams said the GRC and JADC have already agreed to jointly invest in the chairs if there’s an opportunity to buy them and share them as they host shows at different times of the year.
Pictured: Ryan Williams chairs both the Green Room Club and PADG.
Currently, Fort Regent is still lending the chairs to groups who need them, but it is understood that they will be giving up control and administration of the chairs soon.
“The chairs to the Government seem very insignificant but if we put on a show at the Royal Showground and we do not have chairs, we’ve got no income, we’ve got no shows,” Mr Williams explained.
“We cannot use the Opera House due to a lack of investment over the past 20 years. They are helping us by giving us those chairs at a very reduced rate, but we still do not have an end date on when the Opera House will open.”
The Jersey Green Room Theatre Company and the Jersey Amateur Dramatic Club (JADC) initially shared their concerns that the chairs may have been sold off as part of plans to clear out Fort Regent, without the body representing performing arts in Jersey being consulted.
Pictured: There is still no confirmed date as to when the Opera House will reopen.
However, the Government then described the groups' claims as “inaccurate”, but did not deny that they may be sold off in future.
“The chairs have not been sold and they are still available for hire,” a statement signed off by the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Deputy Kirsten Morel, said.
“There have been discussions over the future of the chairs in the light of current plans to move facilities out of the Fort but at this point no decision has been taken.”
Ryan Williams, said this initial statement did not provide the clarity performing arts groups were seeking over the future of the chairs, which they said have been important in helping create seating at alternative venues while the Opera House remains closed.
Express contacted the Government to confirm whether they will agree to offer the groups first refusal, but they are yet to respond after multiple queries.
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