Hammersmith arts centre to enter administration

31st March 2023 | Jack Oliver

Riverside Studios in London has filed a notice to appoint administrators.

The arts centre cited “eye-watering” energy bills and debts incurred from recent developments as reasons behind the decision.

The site, a former Victorian engineering works, was transformed into an arts centre in the mid-1970s after being used as a film studio since the early 1930s.

The centre closed in 2014 for developments and reopened in November 2019 on the eve of the COVID pandemic, which saw the temporary closure of the venue.

The Riverside Trust charity received three grants to turnaround the venue’s fortunes from the Government’s cultural recovery fund, for a total value of over £1.8m. It also received an additional £927,000 of “emergency resource support” as a culturally significant organisation that Arts Council England designated as “at imminent risk of failure”.

A difficult post-Pandemic trading environment paired with a 300% increase in energy bills for the arts centre’s new complex, which is home to three theatres, TV studios, a cinema, bars and a restaurant, has made it increasingly difficult for the centre to remain profitable.

Tony Lankester and Rachel Tackley, joint chief executives of Riverside Studios, said: “To avoid administration and to give us time to re-engineer the legacy debt, we need cash amounting to a relatively small portion of the overall debt: an immediate cash injection of £500,000 with a commitment of a further £750,000 over the next few months. We’ve explored several avenues to try and raise that amount to no avail, and only have around another week to do so.”


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