Theatres removed from Theatres Trust Theatres at Risk Register 2018
The pressing need to highlight theatres at risk is only emphasised when we review those that have been lost in the past year. It is always the hope that theatres will be removed from the list having found a viable future, and whilst many of the supporter groups work valiantly driving their theatre in that direction, sadly all of the theatres removed this year are a result of challenges that could not be overcome – and in most of these cases as a direct result of the pressures on local authority finances.
Of the three theatres removed from the Theatres at Risk Register 2018, two have been demolished and one has been approved for demolition. However, on a more positive note not all is lost, as in two of these cases there are future plans for replacement theatre buildings.
Royal Victoria Hall, Southborough
Royal Victoria Hall in Southborough was demolished in May 2017. Whilst popular with community groups, the Southborough Town Council considered the revenue costs of running the venue to be unaffordable so are redeveloping the site with a new civic centre.
However theatre use will be protected as the proposals for the new community hub will include a performance space. Theatres Trust will continue to offer advice to the council to improve the design of the new hub to make it suitable for the users of the old theatre.
Colwyn Bay Pier Theatre
Poor weather was the downfall of Colwyn Bay’s Pier Theatre and the pier itself. In February 2017 Storm Doris caused a collapse at the sea end of the pier. The theatre itself is closer to the land but the dangerous state of the pier has required the dismantling of the pier structure including the theatre. Where possible elements of both pier and theatre building have been salvaged and placed into storage.
Colwyn Victoria Pier Trust is working with both the Borough and Town Councils to rebuild the pier as a major part of the regeneration of Colwyn Bay, and the new pier and proposed flexible performance space will utilise as much of the salvaged remains ofthe old pier as possible.
After a long and active campaign, planning permission for the demolition of the Scarborough Futurist was approved by Scarborough Borough Council. This decision is particularly frustrating as this coastal theatre will be demolished to create an empty plot of land with no plans approved for the site’s future development.
Theatres Trust considers that the Council’s money would have been better invested in the building and providing Scarborough with the large scale touring venue that it is currently lacking.
Attempts to list this theatre were unsuccessful due to the alterations that had impacted on the theatre, including the over-cladding of its ornate façade. The campaign group are currently fundraising to cover the legal fees from the unsuccessful judicial review.
There are a number of enthusiastic and ambitious campaign groups rallying behind the current theatres on our Theatres at Risk. Theatres Trust continue to support their work and look forward to announcing the removal of some of these as they return to sustainable theatre use for the next Theatres at Risk Register.
Would you like to help save other theatres on the Register? Visit our theatres at risk web pages to find out more about their campaigns, and how you can play your part in saving them.