The Witham Board of Trustees announce that the Investing in The Witham arts, culture and community centre in Barnard Castle has raised in excess of £42,121 in 30 days , thanks to a huge effort by trustees, staff, volunteers, supporters and visitors.
The Investing in The Witham campaign has seen supporters investing to build a financial future for The Witham. The campaign has included a wide variety of events and activities to help achieve the target including:
- a volunteer-led Morrison’s Bag Pack which generated over £570 on Saturday 1st September;
- the donation of goods for sale in the shop including artworks, scarves and jewellery that have the dual benefit of increasing donations but also, increasing the range of goods for sale;
- individual campaigners contributed with sponsored challenges including Café Manager Suzanne Wallace 15km sponsored run, Marketing Manager Sarah Gent’s Creative Chalk Challenge and former Audience Development Officer, Maddy Sutton undertaking a sponsored Peak trek.
On 9 September a variety evening, Sunday Night at The Witham which raised more than £2000 through ticket and programme sales, the raffle and the auction of a watercolour painting kindly donated by artist Chris Mouncey. The evening was hosted by TV Antiques expert David Harper and featured performances from Star of Britain’s Got Talent ‘Mimic Men’ Cal Halbert, international dramatic coloratura soprano Penelope Randell-Davis, singer singwriter Toni Sidgwick, The Castle Players, musicians’ Jane Ford and Nicky Tulloch, virtuoso ventriliquist Eileen Thompson and young harpist Joshua Greenwell.
As the campaign demonstrates, The Witham has built a strong reputation, providing a rich and varied programme of quality performances and visual arts, as well as offering activities for all age groups – from toddlers through to elderly people, from families through to people who live alone. All of this costs money and public funding is tight. There is an on-going programme of fundraising activities to ensure the Investing in The Witham is an enduring campaign. The focus is also on corporate sponsorship and grant funding in order to ensure The Witham has a sustainable future on Barnard Castle high street.
As Shelagh Avery, Interim Director of The Witham arts centre, says, “Our heartfelt thanks to all who have supported this campaign – from the board of trustees, the staff, volunteers and visitors, everyone has pulled together to achieve this remarkable result. It has been truly inspirational to be a part of this team of people working to ensure that Barnard Castle has an arts, culture and community centre long into the future.
The Investing in The Witham campaign continues.
Thank you to our MP Helen Goodman for speaking up for The Witham in parliament this week. It is wonderful to have your support and amazing to hear The Witham mentioned in the Houses of Parliament.
The public response to our fundraising campaign has been fantastic and we are working to secure grant funding from various sources to support our work going forward, including the Arts Council.
It is only by working to generate funds through three channels (public giving, corporate support and grant funding) that The Witham's long-term future can be secured.
Thank you to all who are supporting The Witham.
Find out more about our wonderful fundraisers on our BT My Donate page.
Thanks again to everybody for supporting Investing in The Witham - read on to discover the latest news on the campaign.
At 4pm on Wednesday 5th September the thermometer rises to £26,044. There are one or two amounts that are still to clear and we think we are within sight of our target. There are several events still to take place and because they were planned during the 30 days, even though they will happen afterwards we can still count them towards the total.
If you have been thinking about making a one-off investment, or setting up a standing order - no amount is too small, no date is too late, and you can still make a difference.
If you have already made a donation but done so anonymously through Barclays Bank, the final sum will be boosted if we can claim Gift Aid against your name and postcode. We will keep your identity a secret, but we would very much appreciate you completing this Gift Aid form (paper copies are available from the Witham). We would also need you tell us the amount of your donation. You can do this confidentially by giving your form to either Caroline Maughan who looks after our accounts or Hazel Spencer who is the Trustee responsible for this campaign.
The next fundraiser challenge takes place this Saturday as the Witham's Marketing Manager Sarah Gent and her two daughters target raising £1500 with their Creative Chalk Challenge.
Find out more about our wonderful fundraisers on our BT My Donate page
A great big thank you to everyone who attended the open house session on 1st September. It was lovely to chat to you and to gather your feedback and ideas.
Another great big thank you to all the people doing their shopping in Morrisons on Saturday and our volunteer bag packers who had a great day and raised over £570 for the Investing in the Witham appeal.
Join us for 'Sunday Night at The Witham', a wonderful, fundraising evening showcasing local talent. Tickets are available now, click here to book.
Did you know you can donate your unwanted books to the Witham? All money raised from the rehoming of second hand books is donated to the fundraising appeal.
Drop your books in Tuesday to Saturday, 10am - 4pm.
We are now 14 days into our 30-day Investing in The Witham campaign and we wanted to update you with some facts about how it’s going, and thank the many who have contributed.
So far, 71 people have donated £12,001 counting Gift Aid. A number of people have set up standing orders so that they can make regular donations. In the longer term, this will make a big difference. For example, if we were able to find 100 people to make a regular donation of £10 a month, that would be worth £15,000 a year. This would allow us to programme events for almost a whole month. If you decide to set up a standing order with your bank, please be clear to tell them when you want it to start.
People have started to add Fundraising Events to our BTDonate web page so if you have had an idea for something you can deliver yourself and which you think would help us to generate additional funds towards the campaign, please consider setting up your own challenge through that site. Fundraising challenges that are already on the site are:
Suzanne Wallace who is looking for sponsorship to run 15km in 2 hours and has already received pledges for £230 of her £500 target.
Madelene Sutton sought to raise £200 of sponsorship for her Lakeland 10 peak challenge and has already reached above her target, but her page is still open. It was an amazing solo walk.
Sarah Gent and her two daughters were targeting £500 for the Creative Chalk Challenge on Saturday 8 September and have already raised £970.
Donations can be made here BTmydonate
Via BACS Barclays Bank Sort Code 20-45-45 Account Number 40524050
By cheque made payable to The Witham Hall Ltd
Thank you again for your support for The Witham
Chair of Trustees: Witham Hall Ltd.
The Witham introduces an autumn programme packed with over 70 excellent arts and cultural events for all to enjoy from September to December 2018, sponsored by Darlington Building Society.
The Witham’s music gigs this autumn include an exciting blend of different genres including Eddie and The Hot Rods (15 Sept), the return to The Witham of acclaimed songwriter Bella Hardy + Support (4 October), a spectacular new show called Light and Shadow featuring live music and contemporary dance based on familiar rock/pop songs (22 Sept). You can also enjoy the Cliff Richard Live Screening (12A) (12 October), celebrating Britain’s Ultimate Pop Star with 60 years in the music industry.
Classical music concerts at Barnard Castle’s arts centre include the Winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist Award pianist Clare Hammond (5 Sept) and the Remembrance Requiem conducted by Simon Dearsley (11 November) to mark the centenary of the end of WWI with Elgar’s Spirit of England and Bliss’s Morning Heroes. Opera North brings the Whistle Stop Opera (Sat 20 October) when lively singers and accordionist introduce you to the fascinating world of Opera in a live, interact experience. Celebrate the start of the festive season with Barnard Castle’s Choral Society presenting Handel’s Messiah (2 Dec).
World class Screenings continue to show at Barnard Castle High Street live at the time they are occurring at the Royal Opera House including Mayerling (15 October), The Nutcracker (9 December) and also English National Ballet’s Akram Khan’s Giselle (15 Dec). The National Theatre brings a host of amazing performances including The Madness of King George III (Thursday 13 December) starring Mark Gatiss, a multi-award-winning drama by Alan Bennett.
Two fantastic evening talks this autumn include the return of the Dales vet Neville Turner for a fundraiser for The Witham on 26 Sept and AONB Dark Skies Festival brings The Science of the Moon and the Stars with Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE. Head to the Café Bar for the launch of local poet Judi Sutherland reading from her exciting new book, The Ship Owner’s House (27 September)
There is a wealth of live theatre this season the return of The World of the Wars (28 Sept) inspired by H. G. Wells classic iconic novel, set in the North East and presented by Northern Stage. Award-winning Hull-based theatre company, Middle Child are bringing gig theatre piece One Life Stand (recommended 16+ years, Friday 5 October) as part of the REACH project, with music by James Frewers and Honeyblood, and starring Ed Cole.
The Castle Players present Flare Path (Friday 9 & 10 November), Terence Rattigan’s classical of love & duty set in the 1940s, and there are classics to enjoy with Kindred Theatre presenting The Haunted Man (5 December) inspired by Charles Dickins and Christmas with Steptoe and Son (12 December).
Family theatre include the comedy Me and My Bee (31 October), presented by ThisEgg who invite you to save the world – one bee at a time. The Christmassy Christmas Show (Sunday 9 December) is an over-stuffed stocking of seasonal surprises crammed with puppets, songs, quizzes and slapstick comedy.
The Funny Way To Be Comedy Club continues to deliver fantastic quality laugher from the very best in the business, including Iain Stirling (18 Sept), Jeremy Hardy (23 Oct) and Roughead and Cook (Friday 7 December).
Film Thursdays continue at The Witham including critically acclaimed The Shape of Water (27 September), A Fantastic Woman (11 October), Journey’s End (1 November) and Murder on the Orient Express (20 December).
Exciting exhibitions include Age Does Not Define Us: Re-thinking of Age & Ageing, a collaboration between the National Innovation Centre for Ageing and The Age of No Retirement (Tues 4 Sept – Sat 6 Oct), the Highlights Contemporary Craft Tour, Craft and Conflict (13 – 21 November) with the chance to work with Textile Artist, Morwenna Catt for the Maps and Mayhem! workshop (17 November).
Teesdale Art Network are bringing their showcase exhibition featuring over 30 local artists (9 Oct – 6 Nov) and you can enjoy working with TAN member artist Sharon Loddey for a six week Introduction to Linocut Printing (every Weds for six weeks from 12 Sept). Arts workshops offer you the chance to learn or hone your skills in Acrylic painting a Hare with Anne Mason (Sat 8 Sept) and you can create your own design in Linocut at the Print a Tote Bag workshop with artist Sharon Loddey (Sat 6 October).
Designer Makers Market brings the very best of regional designers and craftspeople (17 & 18 November) and there is also Northern Craft Market (15 Sept, 6 Oct, 10 Nov, 24 Nov, 1 Dec) and the Handcrafted Fair (1 Sept, 3 November, Sat 1 December).
Sarah Gent, Marketing Manager at The Witham says, ‘The Witham autumn programme includes something for everyone and shows that we are listening and responding to feedback to ensure there are events on that people will be interested in coming along to enjoy. The Witham now has a wider range of music events from Cliff Richard on the big screen to Eddie and the Hot Rods. Come to not only support Barnard Castle’s arts centre but also have a brilliant time while you’re here!
We also now have a community notice board to help find out what else is going on in our wonderful community. So please, come into The Witham, grab a programme and have a cuppa in the café while you plan your autumn nights’ out here on Barney high street.’
The Box Office is open from 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturdays. Call 01833 631107 or head to what's on to find out more.
The Annual General Meetings for both Barnard Castle Mechanics' Institute and Witham Hall Community Association will be held on Thursday 13th September at The Witham, 3 Horsemarket, Barnard Castle, DL12 8LY. The meeting starts at 6:00pm.
This is a public meeting and all are welcome to attend.
The Trustees and staff are inviting you to invest in The Witham and help secure its long-term future.
The purpose of the Investing in the Witham appeal is to create a secure financial basis that will allow us to draw in new people whilst retaining the patronage of our current audience. The overall target of the appeal is to secure line of sight to £150,000 before the end of this year, with an initial target of £30,000 to be reached in 30 days starting on 7th August 2018. Please support this campaign by clicking BT MyDonate and donating there (which doesn't charge us a penny to gather the donations). For the latest information, please read our news update about the campaign here.
You can also complete the Investing in The Witham form and return this to our Finance Officer at email@example.com or hand this into The Witham. This gives you the option of both making a one-off donation but also completing a standing order through which you can support on a monthly basis.
Make your donation go even further! Gift Aid allows UK charities to claim back the basic rate tax already paid on donations by the donor. This means we can claim back from the government on your behalf 25p for every £1 donated, boosting the value of your donation by a quarter.
The Witham has always had a remit to benefit its users, having originally been set up as a dispensary to help local people who couldn’t afford to pay doctors’ bills and to enable people to access education. When The Witham opened its doors to the public in April 1846 it was paid for by donations from over 2000 people who were mostly local.
The most recent refurbishment was completed in 2013 and since then, The Witham has built an increasingly strong reputation, providing a rich and varied programme of quality performances and visual arts, as well as offering activities for all age groups – from toddlers through to elderly people, from families through to people who live alone. All of this costs money and public funding is tight.
With your support The Witham will:
• be a venue where everyone is welcomed
• provide entertainment of a quality that is normally only available in large urban centres
• expand what is offered to include a wider range of music whilst continuing with programming that people already value
• be a local venue for friendship and community involvement
• listen and respond to local people about what they want.
We welcome any support you can offer, and we will of course keep you fully informed of progress.
You can also get involved by becoming a volunteer.
We're looking to build upon our team of enthusiastic volunteers to help us engage with members of the public and help the keep the cogs at The Witham well oiled. We'd like to hear from you if you: are looking to learn new skills, share existing skills, enjoy working in a team, enjoy working in public facing roles, if you're looking to get back into work, or if you simply want to put something back into your local community. We’re looking for volunteers who can spare a minimum of eight hours per month in order to help out at The Witham.
Roles that we’re currently recruiting for include: Gallery Assistants, Box Office and Visitor Information Assistants and Stewards.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01833 631107 to have a chat about volunteering and request a Volunteer Inquiry Form.
Celebrating 20 years with twenty paintings commissioned by Gallerina to help champion the North – our landscape, our coast, our people and streets but above all, our talent.
Date: 8 - 29 August 2018 with a preview 7th August from 6.30 – 7.30pm
Time: 10:00 am - 16:00 pm
As Gallerina comments, ‘20 twenty’ is an exhibition which will launch a year long series of events & 'pop ups’ helping us to celebrate 20 years in contemporary fine art.
We are thrilled to be starting our celebrations with The Witham, it is a venue we have enjoyed personally over the years and is a wonderful setting and team of people to help showcase these artists…All of whom, for this particular show, are home grown talent.’
One of the artists included in the exhibition is Mark Johnston is from our region, born in Stockton on Tees in 1974, he studied at Newcastle College of Art 1991, Cumbria College 1992-93 & at Brighton University (BA) from 1993-96.
Gallerina are proud to represent Mark’s work & thrilled to be bringing his latest paintings to The Witham to help celebrate 20 years in the world of contemporary fine art.
The Gallerina team met and started representing Mark 17 years ago, which has given their gallery and wonderful clients a front row seat to his incredible work and career . To help celebrate Gallerina’s new location in Darlington Mark recently turned to works in oil and ink on paper, itself a celebration of their relationship with him and his love of the North and its coastline, always in the fore front of his mind.
Brought up on the coast of Hartlepool, this region, its coastline and light are in his bones. Mark Johnston is a 'mark maker', a high energy painter, a technician, these works can be raw, are intuitive, and can be incredibly delicate. Gallerina is proud to have the relationship and friendship with Mark.
As The Witham Interium Director Shelagh Avery comments, ‘We are delighted at The Witham to be working closely with Gallerina and so pleased that the 20|twenty exhibition will be here at Barnard Castle’s vibrant arts centre. The preview on Tuesday 7th August coincides with our programme launch so we urge you to come to both, to not only plan your autumn arts entertainment but also enjoy this exciting display of contemporary art here at The Witham.’
For more information about this and other exhibitions at The Witham, please head here, call us on 01833 631107 or head into the Gallery from 10am - 4pm, Tuesday - Saturday.
Thanks to your generosity and that of others, supporters of The Witham have kindly raised just under £8000 with a view to improving our piano and for that we are very grateful. At present, the current instrument in the music hall is worth about the same amount. It is on long-term loan to The Witham and we are very cautious about the wisdom of replacing it just now.
This is because, since the fund was started, the situation at The Witham has changed radically. The overall funding sources on which we rely to operate as an arts centre have become harder and harder to secure. As a result, The Board of Trustees has requested all staff to put their energy into supporting the generation of core funding over the next 12 months. This will be essential to ensure the arts centre itself stays open.
For the time-being, we request that you to bear with us. Audience sizes suggest that we can realistically sustain about 3 piano concerts a year. We are already seeking funding to develop our classical programme and bring great performers. We will also work on increasing the reach of our classical audiences.
To help us to focus on fundraising for The Witham itself, the Trustees have instructed us to use the existing piano for forthcoming concerts unless a performer specifically asks to hire something different as part of their contract. We will re-visit what to do with the money in the piano fund once we have confidence that the immediate future of the Witham is more secure. Meantime, the money supporters have contributed towards the cost of a better piano has been ring-fenced and will not be used for other purposes.
We will keep you informed of our progress. Our heartfelt thanks once more again for supporting The Witham piano fund.
The Witham arts centre are recruiting a new Executive Director for this community and cultural venue in the heart of Barnard Castle, Teesdale. Our current Director, Katy Taylor is moving to head up a larger venue.
Ms Taylor’s contribution to the arts sector in County Durham has been significant over the last five years, supporting The Witham through the challenging refurbishment project and then taking the helm in 2014.
During that time, The Witham’s reputation regionally has grown significantly as a go-to arts centre for a wide range of genres, to both enjoy and participant in excellent experiences and a centre for nurturing emerging musicians and artists, pioneering innovative projects and working with the community to engage new audiences in the arts.
As Katy Taylor comments, ‘I want to take this opportunity to thank all The Witham staff, board and volunteers for their hard work and support throughout my time at The Witham - it has been a rollercoaster ride taking this small, vibrant venue from a building site to the popular arts centre it is today.
‘The Witham requires a dynamic Executive Director, with a passion to deliver great experiences, to lead our team of staff and volunteers to the next stage in its development. I’m excited to see who comes to help realise the potential of this venue and take The Witham to the next stage of its development.’
The Witham is seeking an inspirational leader and also a highly adaptable and efficient organisational manager used to dealing with the challenges of a busy venue. The post requires a strong record in managing relationships, financial management and fundraising.
The completed application form together with a CV and covering letter should be sent to email@example.com
Closing date is midday 16th May and interviews will be held in Barnard Castle on 23rd May 2018.