Show for talented youngsters will pull out of town if Martlets Hall is lost, say organisers

Martlets, Burgess Hill 10.09.15 Pic Steve Robards SR1521650 SUS-151009-183213001
Martlets, Burgess Hill 10.09.15 Pic Steve Robards SR1521650 SUS-151009-183213001

The directors of a popular Sussex and Kent wide young talent competition have said they will have to pull the show out of Burgess Hill if Martlets Hall is knocked down.

The One competition directors Robert Eggleston and Hereward Kaye, have announced this in response to a planned £65m renovation project for the town centre which will involve the loss of the hall.

The plan was approved by the district council on September 8 but it still has to get permission through the usual planning process.

In a joint statement the directors have said: “The Martlets Hall has been our chosen performance venue for the finals of The One and if it goes and is not replaced we shall have no alternative but to move to another town”

The One Limited is a live arts promotion company which aims to develop modern music talent of youngsters aged 11 – 19 It runs across Sussex and Kent and attracted 78 entries in 2015.

The directors’ statement continued said: “A critical part of the performance path is to give young performers the opportunity to perform in a public venue with a full technical set-up and a in front of an audience which is more than just family and friends. In other words all the gear you would expect in a live commercial show

“Our chosen venue for finals in the last three years has been the Martlets Hall in Burgess Hill.

“In 2015 we held three finals across a single weekend in mid-March - two on Saturday and one on Sunday. We had 43 acts in the three finals with in excess of 100 performers performing in front of a panel of judges and attracted over 650 people to the three shows.

“To deliver an event of this scale requires considerable technical back up and crew.

“Equally critical to these finals was the support of the Martlets Hall staff who handled the box office, provided stewards for the events, rigged and de-rigged the hall and ran the bar.

“There is no comparable venue in Burgess Hill capable of managing an event of this scale, an event we plan to grow year on year.

“An outcome of this year’s event is that an X Factor scout - who was on our judging panel - approached one of the winners and he has got through the first two phases of this year’s X Factor show having by-passed the auditions.

“How many other budding stars do we have in the making that can start to make their name in Burgess Hill?

“Without the Martlets Hall or a decent replacement, the company will have no alternative but to take the finals to a new location. We believe that it will be a loss to the town if this were to happen.

“We would urge those making decisions about the cultural future of Burgess Hill to think long and hard before it takes this drastic step and properly plans for a replacement to be ready when the Martlets Hall goes.

“As music and media professionals we are more than happy to provide artistic, professional and technical advice to assist in any new plans.”