THE Milton Rooms, Malton’s community and arts venue, has had its Covid-safe accreditation extended for 2021 by UK tourism body Visit Britain.
Venue manager Lisa Rich says: “When the pandemic began, we put a whole range of measures in place around cleanliness and social distancing, which meant people could feel safe coming back to visit us, either for performances or community events.
“We managed to run a number of successful events last autumn, and we are working on a diverse and dynamic programme for when we can fully reopen.”
The Milton Rooms is run as a charitable company, mainly by volunteers, and the Market Place venue has been working hard behind the scenes on refurbishing and refreshing the building ready to welcome the public back in when allowed.
In the meantime, the Milton Rooms is appealing for support from the public in the wake of income from events and hire fees being reduced hugely since the pandemic began last year.
Hence the launch of Keep The Curtain Up, a Go Fund Me appeal to help to fund the substantial continuing overheads, such as utility bills, heating and insurance costs, until the building can reopen as a venue.
VACCINATIONS to fight coronavirus are around the corner, but the focus at the Milton Rooms in Malton is on another form of help: donations.
The Market Place community and entertainment venue has spent a large part of 2020 closed under lockdown restrictions, with only a limited reopening in September and October for several socially distanced events.
The Milton Rooms is a charitable trust run by a board of trustees and operated by volunteers, who have spent much of lockdown giving the venue a spruce-up and planning the programme of events for when restrictions are lifted.
Faced by little income coming in, help from the community is needed to meet the considerable costs of keeping the building running, not least insurance and utility bills.
Hence the Milton Rooms has relaunched its Go Fund Me appeal to help in that task until running a full programme of events for the benefit of the community can be resumed. Visit gofundme.com/f/the-milton-rooms-charity to donate.
Chairman Ray King says: “It costs a significant amount to maintain the Milton Rooms, and during the Covid-19 emergency we’ve been unable to run a full programme of events and those we have been able to run have been with a limited audience.
“So, we’re asking our local community to help support us. I do realise how difficult it is for everyone at the moment but all help would be welcomed.”
Venue manager Lisa Rich says: “We were delighted to re-open our doors in September, following nearly six months of closure and received amazing feedback from our audiences.
“We welcomed back some familiar faces with Ryedale Blues Club and Craft & Chat and worked within our community to assist local groups in being able to restart their events safely within our venue.
“However, at the beginning of November, we had to sadly close our doors once more and now we have the new tier [Tier 2] system in place for probably some time. The Milton Rooms is a vital community hub and we are asking for support to help us to survive this most challenging of times.
“We look forward to welcoming our audiences and users back in the very near future and are working on a diverse and dynamic programme of events for when we’re able to reopen fully.”
Three Covid-secure, socially distanced events will be going ahead in December. Both performances of Magical Quests North’s festive children’s show, Emerald The Elf And Father Christmas, on December 13 at 10.30am and 12 noon, have sold out.
Tickets are still available, however, for Taphouse Burnout’s 7.30pm acoustic concert on December 19 and Dickens – The Man Who Invented Christmas?’’, a fun look at the history of Christmas customs and how Charles Dickens influenced modern-day festivities on the afternoon of December 20.
For tickets, go to: themiltonrooms.com/events. For enquiries on hiring the Milton Rooms, email email@example.com.
THE Milton Rooms in Malton will reopen this month for its first events since lockdown began in March.
Ryedale Blues Club will host the first musical event with York’s DC Blues Band and special guest Nick Steed on September 24 at 8pm, followed by Kick In The Head’s production of Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat on September 27 at 2.30pm.
Venue manager Lisa Rich says: “The whole team is very much looking forward to opening our doors to audiences later this month.
“It has been a long, arduous seven months for everyone, so we hope that the return of live entertainment in Malton will go some way to putting a smile on people’s faces.”
Social distancing measures will be in place for both events and plans have also been developed for anyone who wants to hire the venue.
“The Milton Rooms team is working hard to ensure that everything is as safe as possible,” says Lisa. “Risk assessments are in place and the venue has achieved the Visit Britain ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard.
“Like every business in Ryedale, we will be following strict health and safety guidelines for anyone visiting the Milton Rooms, be they a volunteer, audience member or someone who has hired the building.
“That will obviously mean restricting the number of people who can attend an event. However, we are lucky in that the main hall is large enough to accommodate up to 100 people safely with ample social distancing.” Under those social-distancing measures, tables will range from two people up to groups of six.
Lisa was appointed venue manager of the Milton Rooms at the end of February, only to be faced almost immediately with the lockdown and the cancellation of a glut of events planned for 2020.
An urgent Go Fund Me appeal was launched in April to help to safeguard the Market Place community centre’s future and has raised £2,500 so far.
“It has been probably the most difficult year ever for the Milton Rooms and personally very frustrating as I was appointed just as the country closed down,” says Lisa.
“However, we have been busy behind the scenes preparing for reopening and exploring how the venue can be utilised by our whole community. Luckily, we have had amazing support from the public, who obviously value our lovely arts centre and want it to continue for future generations. We are very grateful to each and every one of them.”
In the first concert on September 24, Ryedale Blues Club founder Paul Winn leads DC Blues Band, who hail from “the mighty Ouse Delta in York” and have been playing their own take on the blues with original material and selected covers since 2012, opening for such acts as Dr Feelgood, King King, Sari Schorr and Marcus Bonfanti. Doors will open at 7.30pm; tickets cost £7.50.
Kick In The Head return to the Milton Rooms on September 27 to present Three Men In A Boat, a “rip-roaring barrel of fun” with Giles Shenton playing the part of writer Jerome K Jerome in this 95-minute one-man/Three Men show.
Shenton, who previously starred in Old Herbaceous, will take the helm for this delightfully ridiculous tale of men behaving badly while messing about in boats. He invites you to “join Jerome as he recounts the hilarious story of his boating holiday along the magnificent River Thames with his two companions, George and Harris, and Montmorency the dog. Come and join in the fun.” Doors will open at 2pm; tickets cost £15.
THE Milton Rooms, Malton, are launching an urgent crowdfunding appeal to help the community centre through the Coronavirus-enforced shutdown. Otherwise, closure “for good” could be around the corner.
In a stark statement, chairman Paul Andrews forewarns: “We need to raise £10,000 by the end of September to safeguard the future of the venue. Should the Coronavirus crisis extend for a further three months, that figure will rise to £20,000.
“Without these funds, our wonderful arts and community facility may have to close for good.”
The Milton Rooms offer a wide variety of entertainment, play host to theatre companies and Malton groups and provide a central hub for the Malton Food Festival and monthly markets.
Over the past few months, the Milton Rooms team had been “working hard to put together a programme of events and activities for the whole community”. However, the Covid-19 emergency necessitated the building’s closure to the public for as long as required under the Government strictures to beat the virus.
The Milton Rooms are registered as a charitable limited company, run mostly by volunteers. Now, with no revenue coming in, the need for financial support to pay outstanding bills, such as utilities and insurance, is urgent.
“It has been amazing to see how the community has pulled together to support one another during the crisis,” says Paul. “Many people have great memories of events at the Milton Rooms, whether it be watching family and friends at the pantomime or Ryedale Youth Theatre, attending dances or musical performances, or taking part in community activities such as yoga, Musical Memories or Vintage Dance.
“Please support us at this very difficult time, so that we can maintain the venue and then thrive as a centre when life returns to normal. If 300 people give £30 each, we will have £9,000 and have almost reached our appeal target.’’