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Wigmore Hall Takes Control of Its Own Destiny

By Michael Vincent on April 1, 2024

London’s esteemed Wigmore Hall made a surprise announcement along with a relatively routine season launch announcement this week. The Hall announced its intention to become financially self-sufficient without external funding. It plans to achieve this by expanding its Director’s Fund from £7 million to an eye-popping £10 million jackpot by 2027.

Why the move away from government funding?

Wigmore Hall is already 97% self-sufficient. Only 3% of its funding comes from the public. Of that 3%, funds like the Arts Council England (ACE) are shifting their attitude on arts funding. ACE has sliced a hefty £50 million a year from London’s classical music scene and reallocated it elsewhere. Wigmore is also profiting from selling tickets and chasing new younger audiences, but reaching them is increasingly expensive.

Should London’s classical crowd be worried about Wigmore Hall?

Not at all — Wigmore Hall is in a very good spot. Their audience numbers are smashing pre-pandemic records. With 550 concerts this season, Wigmore Hall is uniquely positioned to respond proactively to the precarious and volatile nature of arts funding.

In fact, Wigmore Hall may be onto something. Art venues, orchestras, and opera companies struggling with rising costs, falling attendance, and precarious funding would benefit from harnessing investment revenue made from their foundations. In other words, arts groups could conceivably shift their funding models to investment funds first and foremost. Here’s to self-funding symphonies and standing ovations!

Michael Vincent
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