Lincoln Drill Hall goes independent

The Lincoln Drill Hall has been given its independence after six years of caretaking by City of Lincoln Council.

The venue, known for its broad array of theatre and comedy acts, is now an independent charitable organisation controlled by the Lincoln Arts Trust.

Independence will mean the Drill Hall can "take more risks". Photo: Huseyin Kishi

“It’s very exciting for us,” says Simon Hollingworth, the managing director of the Lincoln Drill Hall. “[The council has] recognised that it’s best run by a group of people who specialise [in theatre] — this kind of place needs to be able to respond to really thrive and fly.

“In the short term nothing changes, but gradually there will be a shift and I hope we’ll be able to take more risks and be more out there.” The theatre has already been pre-booked with shows and events for 2011 and “most of ” 2012 so theatre fans may have to wait a while to see any difference.

Hollingworth feels the council has made a positive contribution to the theatre as “without the council we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in”. However he also suggests the size of the council slowed the theatre process down: “There has to be bureaucracy with a public body as big as the council — as a much smaller organisation we get less tied up in it.

“We need to be a creative organisation,” says Hollingworth. He believes independence means there will be more choice in what events the theatre holds. Councils have to be very risk averse by their very nature. We as a cultural, creative organisation have to be less risk averse, and weigh those risks up.”

One of the first projects in the pipeline for the newly independent Drill Hall is a “large scale” digital arts festival. Hollingworth says: “we’re applying for money with the university and with the collection — that would happen next year.”

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