With huge regret and sorrow, we now have to announce the permanent closure of The Reel at Broad Street from mid-November, as we just cannot continue to accrue high rent arrears with no income. It is our sincere hope that a new Reel may emerge sometime, but unfortunately it will certainly not in the very near future.
The Wrigley Sisters have now incurred a significant amount of debt after years of running a wonderful, successful and hugely popular venue. Could you possible help them with that? We would be so grateful for any donations, small or (preferably) large!
For many years The Reel, established by international folk duo The Wrigley Sisters, has been a major cultural centre in their home town of Kirkwall. It has been a teaching and performance venue for Orkney traditional music, enjoyed by thousands of Orkney folk and visitors alike. It has a worldwide reputation for excellence.
When The Reel was forced to close in mid-March, due to coronavirus, all income streams stopped. Very quickly, debt began to mount, and redundancies unfortunately became unavoidable. The building is leased from Orkney Island Council (OIC) at a high commercial rent and that did not stop, meaning the rent arrears grew considerably every month.
As it became clear that there was going to be no early end to the pandemic and with live performances set to be off-limits for the foreseeable future, negotiations begun with OIC regarding the money owed to them for back rent.
We requested a rent holiday back-dated to last March. That was rejected.
We requested a freeze on the rent from the current date. That was rejected.
We launched a public campaign to ask for support in petitioning OIC to adopt The Reel into its Arts Portfolio. That was rejected.
OIC officials recommended that we apply for a lease termination, with a possibility of a back-dated termination. That was rejected.
We requested a lease termination but asked to stay in the building on a rolling one-month lease with a peppercorn rent, until we could find another building and/or restructure the business. That too has now been rejected.
We are hugely grateful to all those who have written letters of support and lobbied their councillors and who have signed our ‘Save The Reel’ petition and made donations to our appeal. Thank you to all of you.
Thank you for your support
We've set up this page for those of you who would like to make a donation towards The Reel's ongoing expenses and we are calling upon your support in petitioning Orkney Island Council to take urgent action to save ‘The Reel’ from permanent closure…
‘The Reel’ situated in the centre of Kirkwall, Orkney, is a privately owned music school for all ages.
Its home is a large, prominent, characterful Georgian style former townhouse right next door to Kirkwall’s historic St Magnus Cathedral, where it neatly combines fully equipped teaching rooms, a licensed café bar with pavement seating area, performance and rehearsal spaces and Orkney’s only music shop.
Since its formation by The Wrigley Sisters in 2004, it has grown to become a highly popular, centre of education and community hub. It is a cultural asset to the Orkney community.
It is facing imminent closure because its activities are largely funded by its busy summer café/bar trade whose sales have been dealt a devastating blow by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
- Lynda Higson
- Susan Kingston
- Patrick Hurley
- Lars Møller Christensen
- Susan O'Leary
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