Sopranos and ukuleles at Drill Hall fundraisers

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Two benefit concerts in aid of The Drill Hall, the renowned gay theatre and arts centre off Tottenham Court Road, are to be held in April.

It is facing closure after its Arts Council funding was recently withdrawn.

A high-profile fundraising campaign is under way to replace the £250,000 annual grant and rescue the venue, which is located just off Tottenham Court Road in London.

Michael Nyman, perhaps best known for his score of the 1993 film The Piano, has set the “lustful sonnets” of I Sonetti Lussuriosi, by Renaissance poet Pietro Aretino, to music.

He will perform the work, accompanied by Marie Angel, the Australian-born soprano, on 6th April.

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, a cult orchestra of all-singing, all-strumming, all-plucking ukulele players who last appeared at The Drill Hall in December 2006, will perform on 4th April.

Julie Parker, artistic director and chief executive of the Drill Hall, said that the funding cut could mean there will be no new lesbian or gay work at the venue.

In autumn 2007 the theatre celebrated its 30th anniversary as the UK’s leading producer and presenter of lesbian, gay and queer performance.

“The Drill Hall is a unique building: the staff are determined that our important work, especially our education programme tackling homophobic bullying in schools, will survive,” she said.

Originally built in 1882 the Drill Hall has an established international reputation for championing the work of new artists, performers and theatre practitioners.

Its patrons include choreographer Matthew Bourne, comedian Julian Clary and Harry Potter actress Miriam Margolyes.

Drill Hall website.