Derby-based regional orchestra Sinfonia Viva is forging ahead with its plans to buy an innovative mobile stage and auditorium that will enable it to take classical music further afield around the East Midlands.
The mobile stage and auditorium are inflatable, highly portable and can be erected in a short space of time by just two or three people – making it very flexible and appropriate for a wide range of spaces.
Viva has secured a £179,585 grant from Arts Council England’s National Lottery-funded Capital programme towards the £211,000 investment programme to buy a large inflatable stage and auditorium seating up to 250 people. The orchestra will also purchase lighting and sound equipment, a van to transport the equipment and invest in industrial storage premises in Derby.
Having secured the Arts Council funding, the orchestra has launched a campaign to raise match funding of just over £30,000 to bring the project to fruition which is being headed by Classic FM radio presenter Anne-Marie Minhall.
Sinfonia Viva chief executive Peter Helps explained that the orchestra did not run its own venue and currently performed its concert giving and nationally-recognised education projects throughout the East Midlands and beyond in a wide range of venues from large concert halls to community venues.
He said: “This inflatable structure will effectively give us our own venue for the first time and will enable us to take our work out of the concert hall and into the heart of communities – particularly rural areas who do not have performance venues.
“The announcement of the Arts Council grant has come at the perfect time. Our new Principal Conductor Duncan Ward is particularly passionate about working in local communities and with young people.
“The mobile venue strengthens our ability to be not only the orchestra for the East Midlands but the orchestra within the community – wherever that may be.
“It also enables us to expand our education work – giving more young people the chance to work with and perform alongside our professional musicians in their own communities.”
Mr Helps continued: “We still need to raise over £30,000 match funding for the project which we are seeking through grants, business and advertising sponsorship and through donations.
“With this in place, we are confident that we will have the mobile venue, transport and storage in place for early summer – at which point we will be announcing our first concerts using this innovative solution.”
Anne-Marie Minhall added: “I am delighted to support Sinfonia Viva with such an innovative idea that takes music into the heart of communities, something very close to my heart.
“The new mobile performance space will showcase not only concert performances but exciting creative work with schools and communities.
“There is great potential to reach a significant number who ordinarily may not get an opportunity to see or participate with innovative music making.
“Sinfonia Viva is an exciting ensemble with a fresh and dynamic outlook on what it means to be an orchestra today and I look forward to being patron of this pioneering capital project.”
Peter Knott, area director, Arts Council England, said: “The Arts Council’s aim is for as many people as possible to have the opportunity to experience great art and culture, and one of the ways we work towards this is to invest in the equipment cultural organisations need.
“This investment is a really exciting opportunity for ViVA to try a new, flexible way for people to enjoy its performances without the need for a traditional, building-based concert venue.”