THE Fiery Bird music venue in Woking town centre is planning to reopen in just over two weeks and hopes to celebrate getting government funding that will help it to expand its activities.

Elaine McGinty, the chairman of the Phoenix Cultural Centre that runs the venue, said that she and her team will be making risk assessments and organising closed test events for the rest of this month with a provisional reopening date of 5 October.

That coincides with the announcement of the Cultural Recovery Fund grants, for which The Fiery Bird has applied.

“It would mean that not only can we carry on but can also better equip our new venue and employ more people,” Elaine said.

The venue is situated next to the HG Wells centre but will have to move at the end of December so the premises and surrounding buildings can be demolished as part of the regeneration of the area.

Phoenix is soon to resume discussions with Woking Borough Council about a new venue, after talks had to be suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. The council has promised to provide a suitable site.

Elaine said the reopening next month will include socially distanced acoustic events and the popular open mic nights.

“We have a lot of space, so we can spread people out,” she said.

The venue has been closed since lockdown in March, but the Phoenix has been busy working with other community groups to share various information, including dealing with the current crisis.

“We have also been keeping in touch with people who have been coming along before lockdown,” Elaine said.

She posted a picture of keys ready to open the venue’s doors on their Facebook page with the one-word caption “Soon”, which drew a number of likes from local supporters. 

For more on this, see the full story in the 17 September edition of the Woking News & Mail, in shops from tomorrow