Philistines at the Gates? Future of Thurrock Community Choir in doubt as funding “pulled”

THE future of a popular and successful community choir that has acted as a flagship for Thurrock remains in doubt as its financial backing has been withdrawn.

The Thurrock Community Chorus was born when the Royal Opera House moved their technical operation from Stratford to Purfleet.

The choir gave people a great chance to sing from the rehearsal rooms of Purfleet to the great stage of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

But from the Thameside Theatre in Grays to the arts groups of Corringham, there has been a long suspicion that Tory-run Thurrock Council think culture is something that grows on a window sill in New Road.

In fact some critics have wished that they showed the same passion in supporting the arts as they have done in stopping sone shows

As reported on Thurrock Nub News earlier this week, there was widespread consternation when more than 140 members of the Thurrock Community Choir learned its future was in jeopardy. 

Thurrock Council was quoted as having withdrawn its funding, but no official statement had been made.

Thurrock Nub News said it has seen a statement.

The statement, sent separately by both Thurrock Council on behalf of education portfolio holder Cllr Andrew Jefferies, and the Royal Opera House, which managed the choir, says: “The Royal Opera House and Thurrock Council have been proud to support the Chorus since it was founded in 2011. 

“Its track record performing diverse, challenging works over nearly a decade, as well as the strong bonds that continue to come out of its ongoing work in the Thurrock community are a massive source of pride for us.

“As the ROH continues to navigate one of the toughest moments in its history, and owing to the total loss of income at the ROH over the last six months as a result of the pandemic, it can no longer support this work. The current three year contract for the ROH and Thurrock Council to fund the Community Chorus came to an end in August 2020.

“The ROH will work with the Chorus to determine how they can be supported as they transition to independence, so that we can continue to see this Thurrock success story go from strength to strength.”

However, the question asked by a number of choir members, councillors and other community organisations including Purfleet-on-Thames Community Forum, is ‘Why can’t Thurrock Council fund the choir?’

That remains unanswered – as does what next lies in store for what is acknowledged as one of the borough’s big success stories of the past decade.

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