A Morecambe arts venue is closing after failing to secure funding.
Alt-Space, a venue that hosts the Morecambe Fringe Festival, has had 12 applications of financial support turned down by Arts Council England.
The venue’s director Matt Panesh, who opened the space in September 2018, said: “I simply can’t afford to keep the place going out of my own pocket. The last time we had any kind of funding help was in March for the scratch festival.”
He said the future of the Morecambe Fringe was not affected, because it takes place in multiple venues, but warned that “the capacity for the local community to actively take part in the fringe sadly will be affected”. During the 2019 fringe, the venue ran multi-disciplinary workshops, and produced eight shows involving local residents.
In addition to serving as a theatre, the venue hosted comedy nights, spoken-word events and was used by students studying art and design at Lancaster and Morecambe College.
In a statement, writer and performer Byron Vincent said: “When it comes to arts organisations having a practical and unequivocally positive function within economically isolated communities, I believe Alt-Space is an exemplar of good practice.
“What they’ve achieved is remarkable. Matt and his team have done more for the arts in Morecambe in three years than has happened in the last 30.”
“Alt-Space is a rare, precious and exciting thing. It deserves to be funded. A truly tragic loss,” he added.
Panesh plans to launch a new Morecambe venue, the West End Playhouse, in 2020, and has set up a crowdfunding initiative aiming to raise £5,000 by December 24.
If it secures funding, the West End Playhouse would become part of the Morecambe Fringe and feature a community theatre group.