Settlement announcement

Saturday (31st Oct) evening’s announcement of new national restrictions in England (or lockdown 2.0 as some are calling it) means that we’re having to make a few changes in what the Settlement offers for the rest of the autumn term.

There will be a temporary pause in face to face courses, activities and events. But we’re busy moving as many classes as we can online. And soon we hope we’ll be able to unveil a programme of other virtual events to occupy and entertain you throughout the autumn.

In light of events earlier in the year, we know that many of our loyal supporters will be concerned about what this means for the future of the Settlement. We’d like to reassure you all that as a result of the many kind donations and grants we have received over the past few months. we can weather this storm. Our focus is on how best to keep the community together over the next few weeks.

We’ll keep you updated directly if you’re booked on a course, or are a member of the Settlement.
Or visit our website for regular updates on what we’ve got planned, at

Things to do

Broadway Studio & Gallery

Exciting news incoming…tune in this Sunday for an announcement about the Letchworth Open from curator Kris. Find out if your work has been accepted for the first open call at the Broadway Gallery celebrating the creative community in and around LGC. See you at 10am! #letchworthopen #letchworthartscene #opencall #hertsartists

Bridge Theatre plans to reopen with season featuring Imelda Staunton, Lucian Msamati and Ralph Fiennes

Our Friends at Sharnbrook mill theatre are running some in conversation events.

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says "Sharnbrook Mill Theatre are proud to present In Conversation with Guy Unsworth Guy freelance director in London, joinsus to share stories fromhis varied career answer questions about directing, writing 'industry intrigues'! Recently, andMen (starring oePasquale) Singapore Repertory Theatre's 25th directing Lady Grange Opera and havetowait... Wednesday 26th August at 7.30pm via Zoom Suggested E5donation. Register by emailing: information visit Registered general Some production Julius Caesar. Em"
Image may contain: 1 person, text that says "Sharnbrook Mill Theatre are proud to present In Conversation with TimMcQuillen-Wrigh Tim is an international set and costume designer who also directs! this Tim will his career, the importance design and how he fits directing into his busy schedule. He will answer your questions about designing for theatre. include: (West End), Othello (RSC) Moulin Rouge (Secret Cinema), Spamalor Tour) more! Friday 28th August at 7.30pm via Zoom Formore nformation please"

The ADC theatre are looking for people interested in staging a musical.

Some interesting professional insights.
How did BAFTA-nominated actors Suranne Jones and Jodie Comer first hear about Anne Lister and Villanelle? Find out as they discuss what drew them to the roles and why they love their shows!

Suranne Jones and Jodie Comer on Gentleman Jack and Killing Eve

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Lots of virtual workshops at RC Annie for fight, sword, gun use and choreography

Mischief Theatre announces casting for outdoor Movie Night comedy tour

Rescheduled theatre – a rolling list of shows you can now see in 2021 or 2022

Fanny and Stella musical to be revived in new open-air theatre in London

Don’t forget to follow all the news from theatres at

Settlement update

Date: 24 July 2020

Thanks to the generosity of many people in Letchworth and the surrounding area, we’ve had a fantastic response to the appeal to save the Settlement. We’re pleased to announce that through the pledges of money and time from so many of you, we now feel confident that the centre can re-open in the next couple of months.

Once we’re open, we’re looking forward to offering a varied programme of high quality courses again. The opening will be staggered – we’ll communicate more about this in regular updates. We also plan to offer our facilities for hire to Letchworth community groups, once the procedures have been adapted to meet the new public safety standards. We’re lucky to have inherited not just a historic building but an educational institution with a proud reputation and a passionate group of supporters. A testament to the hard work and vision of the staff and trustees who have run it successfully for so many years.

But we’re not in a position of safety yet. We need to be confident that the Settlement can withstand many more months of socially-distanced classes and restricted face-to-face activity once the centre is open again. Which impacts the income that can be generated compared to previous years. We may be ‘back in business’ but we will be some way from ‘back to normal’. As a result we’ll be continuing our fundraising activities; and will be calling on more of the generous offers of help you’ve made, to allow us to explore new ideas for ways in which the Settlement can adapt and serve even more of the local community in the future.

A new interim committee has been formed, who are working closely with experienced Settlement office staff to formulate the re-opening plan. The interim committee members are: Hilary Kemp, Marian Adams, Alan Higbey, Nigel Carrick, Christina Butterworth, Carole Brooks, Catherine Beaumont and Katherine Alcock.

There’s still a lot of work to do before the Settlement can re-open, not least because of the new public health and building safety requirements for Covid-19. So please bear with the members of the new interim committee, as we consult the users of the Settlement, and work through the detailed plans. As soon as we have firm dates and details to announce we’ll share them with you.

We look forward to welcoming you back to this unique Letchworth Institution soon,

Hilary Kemp

Chair of Letchworth Educational Settlement

The Settlement and hope for the future.

An update with some positive Settlement news. Since the closure announcement from the Settlement earlier this week, many people have stepped forward with help and ideas. The Players are pleased to say, the Settlement are currently working with ourselves and other users, to develop a plan for reopening the Hall when circumstances allow, for an interim period until the overall health situation becomes clearer and more stable. 

The Settlement is not just the Players home, but an essential part of many lives providing a huge range of creative and educational courses and a home for many community groups.  As the Settlement Celebrates its centenary this year it has maintained the traditions and ethos of the original founders of the organisation in the wonderful Arts and Craft buildings.  It would be hugely sad if the Settlement could not continue. 

We recognise that this is a difficult time for many, however, if you are able to consider making a donation to the Settlement, it would be hugely appreciated, and help secure its future.  Donations can be made here: 

Settlement Announcement and comet article

Fight is on to save Letchworth Settlement after shock closure announcement

Letchworth residents expressed shock and sadness yesterday as one of the town’s historic organisations announced it will be closing, due in part to the coronavirus pandemic.

George Bernard Shaw (back row, second from left) attending a conference entitled Adult Education in the Village on April 29 1932. Picture: Letchworth SettlementGeorge Bernard Shaw (back row, second from left) attending a conference entitled Adult Education in the Village on April 29 1932. Picture: Letchworth Settlement

In an email to supporters and members yesterday afternoon, it was revealed that the 100-year-old Letchworth Settlement “will be shut down with effect on July 31,” and all staff will be made redundant.

Letchworth residents were left stunned by the announcement, and many are now calling on the Heritage Foundation and others to rescue the organisation and its historic Grade II listed building.

The Letchworth Settlement has been an independently run education centre since 1920, and is considered one of the jewels in the crown of the world’s first garden city. Its 113-year-old building continues to be home to a huge number of the town’s best-loved groups and societies.

As it stands, no final decision has been reached on the future of the old Skittles Inn on Nevells Road, though the Settlement is exploring whether the theatre and hall could be used independently as a separate legal entity. Its freehold is owned by the Heritage Foundation.

Settlement chair Pam Burn wrote to supporters and members yesterday, saying: “As you all well know, the world has been a very uncertain place over recent months and whilst, as I write, there are some glimmers of light, sadly they are not enough for the Settlement, as it stands, to survive beyond this summer.

“You will be aware that we receive no grants of any kind from anywhere. A group of Trustees did form a working party to look into options for remaining open but concluded that, despite all our efforts and prudent operations, the financial risks were simply too high.

“With social distancing, it would be very difficult to run small classes that did not cost a great deal more than people have been used to. And of course, there is no guarantee that students and visitors would wish to return to the Settlement until there is a vaccine or some acceptable form of treatment for coronavirus.”

Pam said it was “ironic” that the organisation is facing closure in the same year as its centenary, adding: “I never in my most savage nightmares expected to be writing to you to tell you this news.”

“Thanks to you all for coming along and joining in with the many different offerings that the Settlement has produced during the course of our history. It is my personal hope that the Settlement will rise again, perhaps within the next year or so if sufficient substantial funding can be raised.

“It will need committed, active Trustees and enthusiastic support and encouragement from the community that I very much hope might be forthcoming, as indeed it was all those years ago.”

A book entitled ‘Letchworth Settlement 1920-2020 – A Century of Creative Learning’ – has been written by Hertfordshire county archivist Kate Thompson, and will be published on October 5.

A spokesperson for the Letchworth Heritage Foundation said: “We are saddened to hear that the Settlement will be closing for the foreseeable future. We have all seen first-hand the destructive impact COVID-19 has had on the Letchworth community, from individuals and families to businesses and charities.

“The Foundation owns the freehold of the building and has a charitable lease in place with the Settlement. We have worked closely with them over the years to help them maintain and care for the building, most recently undertaking a refurbishment programme in 2014.

“The Foundation will continue to support this historic social enterprise at this most challenging time, and now, more than ever, the Settlement needs skilled and committed volunteers from the community to help them find a way forward.”

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