It has been a tough few months since we closed our doors to the public, but we are now planning a phased reopening of the building and look forward to welcoming you back as soon as possible. We want to thank you all for you continued support during this time.
As an independent arts centre with a range of activities (cinema, live events, learning & participation, hires, tenancies), we have felt the devastating effect of closure on our finances, including the artists we work with and support. We have also witnessed the destabilising and distressing impact of the virus on our team, our partners and our local community. When we reopen we are clear that our focus has to be two-fold: supporting our community through arts, culture and creativity; and ensuring the financial sustainability of Rich Mix.
This is work we have already started on. Whilst closed to the public our building has been open to our residents for a few weeks now, and previously was accessible for emergency use. As well as fundraising and keeping in touch with our team, we have been working with our regular partners to platform their creativity (whether through blog interviews, Instagram Q&As, our #LoveYourLocal tweets); put together a list of Rich Mix Picks round-up lists from films, to family activities and more; hosted three livestream events on our channels (as well as weekly DJ sessions); and worked with The People Speak to present two Talkaoke discussions on “how the arts & cultural sector can respond to the needs of their communities”.
What does reopening mean for Rich Mix?
Learning & Participation
We will continue to work with local networks, artists and funders to deliver high-quality learning and participation programmes for families, schools and young people in the borough. More than ever, we want our building to be a hub for the community, and we also want to co-create our programmes as much as possible, to ensure they reflect the diverse needs of our neighbourhood. We are excited about beginning work again on a few programmes we have had to postpone: New Creatives for young people in Tower Hamlets looking to work in the creative industries; Pic ‘n’ Mix, our film education project for schoolchildren in the borough; and In Focus, a creative photography and philosophy course for Muslim and non-Muslim women.
We are planning to open our screens once again in September, when conditions are optimum for us to return, and we look forward to bringing you the latest mix of blockbusters and indie films that you’re used to from your local independent cinema. We have been busy behind the scenes making sure that we can operate safely under social distancing and with increased cleaning and sanitation, and we’re confident that you will be able to enjoy films in the comfort of our iconic screens from this autumn. Look out for more details on our offers, concession options online, private screen experiences for you and your bubble/household and of course, our film schedule!
Under social distancing measures, which are paramount for visitor, staff and artists’ safety, it will not be feasible for us to continue with the autumn season of live events we were planning from September to December 2020. We have taken this difficult decision after exploring all practical considerations, and from consulting the guidance and advice of Music Venues Trust. All partners with booked and provisional events have been notified and we will be offering refunds to all ticket bookers in due course (please be patient as we manage this process with a reduced team).
Whilst the season cannot go ahead as planned, we are still keen to listen, learn and adapt. Look out for a survey from us where we are asking partners how their events may be able to be reshaped and how we can support them with this, and their other creative endeavours so that we continue to platform ambitious ideas and voices. We also want to hear from our audiences – what do you want to see from us? How would you like to interact with us and our brilliant artistic partners? We will be sending out an audience and member survey in the next couple of weeks.
We will be announcing two spectacular projects soon that our audiences will be able to enjoy from a social distance.
We will review our live events programme for January to April 2021 later this year.
Hiring our spaces
From September we will be able to accept space hires that follow social distancing guidelines and capacities. We understand budgets and event needs will be different so we’re working on a new set of rates, and we’re always up for conversations on bespoke deals for you and your organisation. Remember, every time you hire a space with us you are supporting our work in the local community.
Rich Mix residents
There are 25 creative and charitable businesses that call Rich Mix home. We opened our doors to our residents as soon as we were able to, under Government workplace guidance, and we are confident that the health and safety measures we have put in place are working to protect residents and staff. Look out for our spotlight series coming up where we will shine a light on the inspiring organisations under our roof.
The safety of our staff, residents, partners and visitors is of paramount importance to us. The Rich Mix Executive team and board have been continually monitoring the advice from UK Government and Public Health England during our closure, as well as seeking the much-appreciated support of sector and industry leaders including our principal funder Arts Council England, and Music Venues Trust and UK Cinema Association.
We know that this is not a straightforward message to deliver – we would love to say that the Rich Mix that was reopening was the same one you left behind in March. However, we know that now, more than ever, our role in delivering Culture for a Changing City, bringing the diverse communities in East London together through creativity, is vital.
If you’re able to, please consider supporting us with a one-off donation.
If you have any ideas of how we can navigate this time, or what we can do to support our communities let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’re also invited to Talkaoke on Tues 7 July – the third edition in an online discussion series hosted by The People Speak on how the arts and cultural sector can respond to the needs of their communities.