The Witham

The Witham

At a glance

Causes

  • Arts

Other details

Organisation type: 
Charity
Geographical remit: 
Local

Objectives

The Witham is a truly unique organisation serving Barnard Castle, Teesdale and the surrounding region. We bring together comedy, community wellbeing groups, live music and cinema, as well as a youth theatre, and are at an exciting point as we look to develop our next strategy.

Based in a heritage building, The Witham is the main provider of a cultural programme in the rural south-west corner of County Durham. In 2022 over 15,000 tickets were sold, and there were 6000 attendances at regular activities.

The current team has worked tirelessly to dispel the myth that culture is only for a limited section of the population and is passionate about increasing inclusion through an emphasis on having something for everyone and seeking to attract younger audiences.

Conventional diversity targets are only within reach through partnerships outside the immediate area.  However, improved reach into low or unwaged members of the population is our clear aspiration.

Activities

The Witham Hall Ltd manages the heritage buildings, known as ‘The Witham’ which were built in 1845-6 and restored in 2012. The Grade II buildings are historically significant, built as a memorial to Henry Witham, local philanthropist, and amateur palaeontologist and mineralogist. They were used as a Mechanics Institute and Dispensary for the poor and later in 1860 a ‘Music Hall’ was added. The buildings were designed for the community, built, paid for and maintained by the community.

Today, the buildings are home to a performance space, gallery, shop, café, meeting rooms and studio spaces utilised by local cultural and heritage organisations.  The Witham provides employment for the equivalent of 7 full-time employees, studio tenants employing a further 10 staff and 42 volunteers of whom 20 are consistently active. 

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