The Peterborough Theatre

A former cinema, with one of the finest restored interiors from the original Odeon chain. It was later converted to a theatre and is now one of the largest performance art venues in the region. It is capable of hosting national touring productions.

201101 ig broadway peterborough 004 detail
Address
46 Broadway, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE1 1RT
Risk Rating
6 (Community Value: 3, Star Rating: 1, Risk Factor: 2)
Owner
Prima Investments, leased to the Dawe Charitable Trust
Operator
Interim: Dawe Charitable Trust
Architect
Harry Weedon
Date of Construction
1937
Listing
Not listed
Capacity
1,140

Significance

The building opened as an Odeon cinema in 1937, and was one of the original cinemas of the chain. It closed as a cinema in 1991. In 2001 the building was redeveloped and reopened as The Broadway Theatre. A platform stage was built within the original proscenium and the original Art Deco interior of the auditorium restored. The auditorium is in a good condition and is now one of the finest interiors remaining from the original Odeon chain. It is one of the largest venues in the region and is capable of hosting national touring plays, music, comedy and films.

Why is this theatre at risk?

The theatre closed after a major fire in 2009. It briefly reopened in 2011 and hosted successful winter seasons in 2013-14 and 2015-16. Outside of these seasons it was only used as a rehearsal space for a local choir. The building was under threat of redevelopment for residential use and a planning application was submitted. Theatres Trust strongly objected to the proposals, in particular on the basis that the viability of the building as a theatre had yet to be disproven and the loss of cultural provision was contrary to both the local Core Strategy and also the National Planning Policy Framework. The Trust also met with Peterborough Civic Society and local supporters to provide advice on campaigning for the building, and supported the inclusion of the theatre on the list of Buildings of Local Importance.

Current situation

The planning application for residential redevelopment was refused in August 2017 on the basis that the application did not ‘adequately or robustly demonstrate that The Broadway is not viable as a cultural/entertainment/leisure venue’ and the ‘loss of the theatre would result in a significant loss of amenity to the people of Peterborough with no replacement provision being made.’

Furthermore, during the decision period the owner of The Broadway announced that the theatre was to be leased to the Dawe Charitable Trust which, through a management agreement with Performance Art Ventures CIC, trading as The Broadway (Peterborough), was to reopen the building as a theatre. The building reopened its doors on 2 September 2017, the 80th anniversary of the building, operating a varied programme of entertainment.

Sadly, in August 2018 Performance Art Ventures CIC ceased trading – a blow for a theatre that was beginning to re-establish itself with the local community. The leaseholder Dawe Charitable Trust stepped in to reopen the theatre, renaming it The Peterborough Theatre. Theatres Trust is working to support the Dawe Charitable Trust as it looks to keep the theatre operational and secure a sustainable future.

Image: The Peterborough Theatre, Ian Grundy