Riverside Studios in Hammersmith West London will enter administration, it has been announced.
According to The Stage, the Riverside Trust, which has run the arts venue since 1983, will continue to trade under administration whilst a new buyer is found to take on ownership of the arts venue.
The Riverside Trust has reportedly been in financial difficulties due to the significant debt burden incurred with the venue’s recent redevelopment. The trust also attributed the difficult operating environment post-Covid and the spiralling running costs “including a 300% increase in energy bills” which had “made it harder to rebuild revenue streams vital to supporting the trust’s charitable activities.”
The financial outlook was set to worsen in November 2023 when the current loans are due to be refinanced.
Greg Parston, chair of the Riverside Trust Board, said: “Launching the new Riverside Studios with such a huge burden of inherited debt from the building development was never going to be easy. With the fantastic team that we have built over the past three years, it was our fervent hope that careful business planning – coupled with the support we received from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund and Triodos Bank during the darkest days of the pandemic – would put us in a healthier cash-flow position.”
He added: “We had planned and expected to continue to operate with sufficient surpluses to begin to pay off some of our debt in the coming year. That was not to be, however. As a result. it is the board’s view that entering administration now is the best and most responsible route to preserving Riverside for the community as the centre of enjoyment, art and learning that we have worked so hard to re-establish.”
In a statement, the trust said there was growing “audience support” for the venue but that it had taken the first steps toward entering administration by filing the appropriate Notice of Intention with the High Court. The next stage will be the appointment of administrators within the statutory 10-working day deadline.
Tony Lankester and Rachel Tackley, joint chief executives, said: “Our staff, artists and community are our first priority as we tirelessly seek new funding avenues. Riverside has always punched above its weight in the cultural life of both London and Hammersmith and Fulham. We are confident that it will continue to do so.”
They added: “That journey won’t be easy, but entering administration promptly and responsibly gives the trust the ability to continue to operate and plan for its future.”
The chief executives described it as a “tragedy” that, to avoid administration, an immediate cash injection of £500,000 with a commitment of a further £750,000 over the next few months would be needed.
“We’ve explored several avenues to try to raise that amount to no avail, and only have around another week to do so,” they said.
Recent productions at Riverside Studios included: Operation Mincemeat (now transferred to the Fortune Theatre in the West End), CAGES, Horse-Play and Holy Shit. The venue is currently home to Killing The Cat and Winnie The Pooh.