Musical Society getting priced out of the Reid Hall

Reid Hall
Reid Hall

The secretary of Forfar Musical Society has claimed it is being forced to put “good money after bad” with the hire of the Reid Hall in Brechin Road.

Society members claim they are forced to hire the hall, at a total cost of £3,000, twice a year for their productions, citing there are no other suitable alternatives in the town.

Now they are calling on the council to provide a better service to help ensure their two productions continue.

Marley Hunter of the society explained members had worked hard in recent years to build up its audience, its reputation and its membership after falling numbers and poor attendances had threatened its future.

She said: “It costs us over £1,700 to put on the panto; as a result we have to look at whether or not we can afford to put on shows. We pay the council about £3,000 a year to put on the two shows. That is for two weeks’ hire which is completely mental. There is also an additional cost per day when you hire the kitchen.

“We had 1,300 people at last year’s panto and are putting on ‘Seussical’ from May 27 to 30. We could drop the main show and do a smaller show in a church hall but there is no other option for us. We believe the council doesn’t hire out the leisure centre any more.

“We are just wanting to get the word out there that our society is getting priced out of doing what we do by the council. We are very hopeful we can put on a panto this year. We really don’t want to lose it but are going to have to cut back on our performances because of the price. The council has got us over a barrel as there is nowhere else we can go. We are practically the biggest users of the hall every year.

“We have about 80 members and have to constantly say we are full up for child places, although we do need more adults.

Marley criticised the service offered by the council stating members had to sweep the floor of the main auditorium between the two Saturday shows in December.

She appealed for anyone with suitable storage space, which would enable society members to build and store their own sets and cut down on costs, to contact her on 464368.

When contacted a spokeswoman for Angus Council said: “It is disappointing that the society has not raised any of their concerns about the Reid Hall with us, nor are we aware of a request to hire the leisure centre drama studio.

“We would be happy to meet to discuss these at a convenient time for the society.

“While our staff have cleaned the hall between each show, they did not sweep the floor between the matinee performance and evening performance.

“Having this matter brought to our attention, we will now review this procedure.”