Lincoln College take over The Drill – and the panto’s back!

21 October 2021 at 8:47 pm

Author:   James Newall

Lincoln College Group has taken ownership of Lincoln Drill Hall and plans to reopen it to the public in time for this year’s much-loved panto.

Responsibility for the Drill Hall has transferred from the Lincoln Arts Trust to Lincoln College Group (LCG) and LCG is delighted to announce that the much-loved panto will go ahead this year.

LCG is committed to maintaining the pivotal role of the Drill Hall in the cultural landscape of the city.

It will continue to be a live entertainment venue and the Group will be investing in the café/bar to create a family-friendly environment for coffee and lunch in the daytime and dinner and drinks in the evening.

The Drill Hall will also be a training ground for Lincoln College performing and production arts, catering, hospitality and business students and apprentices.

In the short-term the venue will remain closed for vital maintenance and upgrading work to be carried out, but the Group is hoping for an official reopening in the Autumn.

LCG Managing Director for International and Commercial James Foster said: “This is tremendous news for the city of Lincoln and for Lincoln College.

“We’re hugely excited about becoming the guardians of a real cultural jewel for the arts and live entertainment and we are also really looking forward to investing in the building and what it has to offer.

“We are aiming to start work soon on significantly upgrading the facilities in time for the much-loved and much-missed Drill Hall panto.”

LCG’s vision for the Drill Hall is to invest in the achieving a truly multi-purpose arts, entertainment and leisure facility that will continue to offer music, theatre and comedy performances, but also be a well-used exhibition and conference space.

The upgrading of the café bar area will create a great place for lunch, dinner and drinks whether customers are taking in a show or not.

Chair of the Lincoln Arts Trust Phil Hamlyn Williams said: “I am delighted that the future of the Drill Hall will be in the hands of Lincoln College which shares so many of our values.

“A building, however fine, is but an empty shell unless something is happening inside it. Since 2004, some very lovely things happened inside the Drill Hall, and those lovely things only happened because of the talented team of people who worked there. Led first by Simon Hollingsworth and then by Chris Kirkwood. They welcomed thousands of people who enjoyed a wonderful variety of live performance.

“I want to thank them for all they did and to remember with great sadness that, with the coming of Covid, they had to lose their jobs. There were also volunteer trustees labouring away in the background.

“My predecessor as chair, Phil Cosker, moved mountains to reopen the Hall as an arts centre. Over the years, trustees have tried to be critical friends to the staff team and, since the end of October 2020, have been holding the baby. I want to thank them for shouldering that responsibility.

“But now is the time to look forward to a new chapter in the Hall’s long life.”

Jamie Marcus, Managing Director of Jamie Marcus Productions, said he was thrilled that the venue would be up and running better than ever.

“It is such fantastic news that the Drill Hall will reopen this year and in time for Christmas.  Having produced the panto since 2007, audiences have loved our shows and have come back year on year,” he said.

“It’s such an adaptable auditorium that audiences can buy tickets now with confidence, as social distance measures are already in place.

“As we’re living in a ‘whole new world’ it had to be the most popular of all panto’s ‘Aladdin’! We’re delighted to announce that tickets are on sale today.”

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