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Sussex Symphony Orchestra in blast at rivals
An orchestra says its audience is being stolen by groups from outside the area.
Sussex Symphony Orchestra has complained that its audience numbers are down in Brighton – by 50% at one venue.
Orchestra chairwoman Hannah Carter said she blamed big name rivals from outside the county.
Sussex Symphony Orchestra regularly performs at the Dome and St Bartholomew’s Church in the city and in recent years the British Symphonium and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra have starting to perform in Brighton too.
Director Mark Andrew James said: “Everything is fair in love and war but we are a local, damn good orchestra.
“Our budget to advertise is never going to be as much as the London ones can afford. They all immediately have a much higher profile than us. It’s a vicious circle.
“One can’t rally against the London Philharmonic and others that come down or even the British Philharmonic because they have the money, but sometimes where they get the money from really frustrates us because it’s the same pot that we’re trying to dip into.
“It’s not just trying to fill venues it’s trying to get local interest in the orchestra. New people who come to our concerts comment about how good we are and ask why they haven’t heard about us before. We’re not called the third best orchestra of its type in the country for nothing.”
Several orchestras are already based in the city, including Brighton Philharmonic and the Brighton and Hove Concert Orchestra.
Michael Lloyd, musical director of the Brighton and Hove Concert Orchestra, said that it had moved away from the large city centre venues because of the difficulty in filling auditoriums.
He said: “We took the decision to move our concerts to smaller venues to maintain our audiences.
“The major venues in the city centre can be hard to fill. And you have to charge people more for tickets.
“We now perform in Patcham and Shoreham and manage to keep selling out audiences, but it is why we don’t do the Brighton Festival anymore.
“We used to do a lot more in the centre, at the Old Market and the Hove Centre, but it became harder to fill them.
“At the bigger venues you have to charge people more for tickets too, which can be a lot of pressure on people.”
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