Performers Together, the Farnham Community Interest Company set up in March 2012 to seek out diverse new facilities for local performing arts groups, has been wound up.
The company was backed by MP Jeremy Hunt and counted Sir Simon Russell Beale CBE and David Whelton OBE, former MD of the Philharmonia Orchestra, as patrons.
It’s crowning moment was the staging of the hugely successful Farnham Fringe Festivals in 2017, 2018 and 2019 at venues across the town, indoors and outdoors.
But 2020 and the Covid pandemic put a stop to its activities, and it was not able to recover the momentum.
The decision was therefore taken to wind up the group, and transfer its funds to the Farnham Theatre Association.
Richard Sandars, director of Performers Together CIC, confirmed the group's demise in a statement, published in full below:
His statement reads: "Many will remember Performers Together, set up as a Community Interest Company in March 2012, on the back of a report into the facilities local performing arts groups would like to see in Farnham.
"These included theatre and choral groups, orchestras and dance groups as well as many individual performers.
"The company’s newly appointed Directors set up ‘Get Togethers’ and discussions with the wide range of groups that had contributed to the report, which had been suggested by our MP The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt.
"The objectives of the Company were registered as supporting performing arts organisations and individuals wishing to participate in, or experience a high standard of performing arts for education and leisure, and to research a possible venue for community and professional productions.
"Moving on, Mike Silver, one of our directors, produced a regular series of informative and interesting newsletters, and the directors were delighted and privileged to be able to appoint as patrons, Sir Simon Russell Beale CBE and David Whelton OBE, former MD of the Philharmonia Orchestra.
"Another director, with a distinguished background in performing arts, Dr Kate Napier, came up with the intriguing idea of attempting to stage at least one performance on each day during June. The Farnham Flash Festivals were born and became PT’s primary activity – supporting local performers, generating interest and building audiences.
"In June 2017, the first Farnham Flash Festival was staged, followed by increasingly popular and well supported festivals in 2018 and 2019, with a highly successful fiction competition being added in the second year.
"The future looked rosy.
"However, December 2019 saw the arrival of the Covid pandemic which caused such devastation and so many lifestyle changes.
"While it was possible to run a mini-festival in 2022, there was, sadly, not enough support to organise a further festival.
"This, combined with various circumstances affecting the small group of directors, led them reluctantly to conclude that the time had come to wind up Performers Together CIC, thanking all those, including the town council and Iain Lynch, who put huge effort into making the festivals the rich and vibrant experience they had been.
"The directors also decided to transfer remaining funds to the Farnham Theatre Association, whose activities gave rise to the formation of Performers Together and whose principal aim aligns with PT’s objective of supporting performing arts organisations and individuals wishing to participate in or experience a high standard of performing arts for education and leisure, and to research a possible venue for community and professional productions.
"Hopefully there are many, performers and audience members, who will take away happy memories of being involved in an ambitious community project.
"Thank you Farnham."