An exciting programme of events is in store at the King’s Hall this summer.
- Los Pacaminos with Paul Young
- Legendary Canterbury folk prog group Caravan playing the only Kent date on their 50th anniversary tour
- Ska stars The Dualers in August which sold out in two days
- More regular comedy clubs with Lee Hurst
- Northern soul DJ nights
- Jazz favourites The Ronnie Scott’s All Stars
- British soul group The Real Thing
The future of the venue, which is run by Canterbury City Council, is being examined by a councillor working group in an effort to reduce the subsidy it needs from council taxpayers across the district.
The options being explored include further developing the programme at the same time as giving the hall a rebrand in order to boost audiences and footfall, working with the community to create a trust to take on its running, operating it like a village hall by only opening when someone hires it, leasing it to a private business like a restaurant chain or selling it. The answer could also lie in a combination of these options.
There is also the possibility of closing and mothballing the building which was opened in 1904.
A report was due to be considered by the Community Committee in March but the working group decided more detail was needed on all of the options so a final decision has been put back to at the least the autumn and maybe into next year.
The active marketing of the site for sale or use by a private business will be put on hold.
Cllr Neil Baker, Chairman of Canterbury City Council’s Community Committee, said: “We want to do all we can to make the King’s Hall a success while being mindful we are spending the public’s money.
“A facility like the King’s Hall will always struggle without some level of subsidy but our aim is to reduce that level as far as we can and that’s what’s driving the options we’re considering.
“By introducing some breathing space into the process we can carry on talking to community groups while they develop their plans, talk to potential business partners or those interested in buying it.
“We have an open mind so if any new ideas emerge, we will happily consider them.
“In the meantime, the team is determined to pull together one of its best ever programmes in order to attract audiences.
“One of the best ways to secure the King’s Hall’s future is to use it. If you’ve not been for a while, give it another try and let us know what you think so we can make it better.”
In the past 12 months, there have been 21 more events than the year before and footfall at the King’s Hall has increased by 182% – from 2,936 to 8,283.
And the King’s Hall team has presented more of its own events than ever before many of which have been sell-outs.
These include Joe Brown, Lee Hurst’s Local Comedy Club, The Real Thing, The Blues Band, and Omid Djalili.
The King’s Hall team is looking at revamping the food and drink they sell and extending opening hours.