Battersea Arts Centre is slowly recovering from the devastating fire that broke out in the venue last Friday. The historic centre suffered great damages and saw its Grand Hall completely destroyed. Severe damages were also done to the back of the building in the Lower Hall. Luckily, no people were harmed in the fire.
More than 80 firefighters were at the scene and were able to save half of the centre. “They did a great job to save large parts of the building including the octagonal dome which I’m told is priceless and salvaged valuable art work,“ said a spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade.
The front of the centre was unaffected by the fire and is currently up and running and hosting shows and events. The staff is also working on finding alternative locations for its upcoming shows.
In a statement David Jubb, Artistic Director of the Centre, said, “We hope the insurance will cover most essential costs but it will never be able to cover all the immense changes that we will have to go through over the next two or three years, the investment in new ways of working. Every penny of the fighting fund that is still, thankfully, growing day by day, will go towards the recovery of the organisation so we can keep all of our activities going, we don’t want to let anyone down because of this fire, indeed it will make us stronger.”
Donations of almost £70,000 have already been made through the charity National Funding Scheme to restore the building, in addition to a £100,000 donation from Battersea Power Station.
“The way people have responded to this event is quite extraordinary,” Said Jubb, “I’d like to thank everyone for their incredible support of Battersea Arts Centre and Battersea’s beautiful former town hall. The Battersea spirit, encapsulate in its mid-19th Century motto – Not For Me, Not For You, But For Us – is all around.”
MISSING was one of the performances that the effects of the fire hit the hardest. The act, created by dance company Gecko, was set to perform in the Grand Hall and lost all their props, costumes, lighting in the fire. The company has already received £5000 in donations and are working around the clock to rebuild their set.
Gecko company administrator Daniel Cooley said they were supporting Battersea Arts Centre in their work to rebuild. “We are all very devastated at the losses Battersea will have, especially since they were so close to the finishing their refurbishment. Our relationship with the centre is now stronger than ever.”
At the time of the fire the Grade II* historic centre was undergoing restorations worth £13.3 million that were due to finish in 2016. However, the areas of the building that are undergoing redevelopment were largely unaffected.