The Theatres Trust

Theatres Trust responds to Derby Hippodrome fire of 6 March 2016

7th March 2016

The Theatres Trust have real concerns about Derby Hippodrome’s future following the latest fire on Sunday 6 March 2016.

The Theatres Trust is in contact with Council Officers to find out the extent of the damage to the Grade II listed theatre, which is on our theatre buildings at risk register, and await the outcome of their investigation into the structural condition of the building.

We were only in Derby last week, on the 3 March, talking to Derby City Council about its plans for a new large scale theatre in Derby following the closure of the Assembly Rooms last year after its fire. At the meeting we also discussed ways forward for the restoration of the Hippodrome. We’ve also been advising Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust who want to purchase, rebuild and reopen the theatre and who’ve just received an HLF start-up grant to help them value the building.

Only a year after the Battersea Arts Centre fire in London this tragedy goes to show, once again, how vulnerable theatres are to fire. For those theatres that have been neglected by their owners and are at greater risk, it becomes doubly important to have full proof safety and security measures in place.

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New Building Better Theatres Workshop ‘A New Life for Historic Theatres’ open for bookings

24th February 2016

  • ‘A New Life for Historic Theatres’ is a new one-day workshop providing advice and guidance to groups in the early stages of bringing historic theatres back to life
  • Book now to attend the Workshop on 5 May at our central London Resource Centre
  • This is the final Workshop in our Autumn 2015 – Spring 2016 season of our Building Better Theatres Workshop Programme, which returns again in Autumn 2016

Groups working to restore and reopen historic theatres face many challenges. They need to have an understanding of theatre architecture, building projects and the conservation of historic buildings, as well as governance, business planning and fundraising. It can be hard to know where to start or who to turn to in the early stages of a theatre project to ensure its success.

‘A New Life for Historic Theatres’ our new one-day workshop, held in our central London Resource Centre on 5 May 2016, will offer a clear route through the early stages of a project. It will bring together a range of case studies and experienced practitioners to provide practical advice and information to campaign groups and organisations looking to manage a successful restoration project.

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Select Committee Report on National Policy for the Built Environment cites Theatres Trust evidence

19th February 2016

Building Better Places

The House of Lord’s Built Environment Select Committee today released its report ‘Building Better Places’ on National Policy for the Built Environment. The Report asserts the importance of delivering a better built environment and criticises current government policy as unlikely to meet demand for either the quantity or quality of houses we need. The Committee is concerned about the quality of new developments, and about the risk of housing delivery being prioritised at the expense of other elements of the built environment.

The Theatres Trust submitted written evidence highlighting our concerns about how NPPF guidance is being implemented and the adverse effect this has on cultural facilities (which includes theatres), cultural and social well-being, heritage, and town centres.

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Viability Study proposed for ‘at risk’ Burnley Empire

11th February 2016

Burnley Council, the Burnley Empire Theatre Trust and The Theatres Trust are working together to commission a Viability Study to establish whether it would be viable to develop the Grade II listed Burnley Empire theatre.

Burnley Council has agreed to put in £5,000 towards the cost of the Viability Study. Further funding is now being sought towards the cost of the full study.

This follows recent discussions, co-ordinated by The Theatres Trust, to secure its future.

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Five theatres to receive London Theatres Small Grants Scheme awards from the Theatres Trust through Cameron Mackintosh donation

3rd February 2016

Three quarters of small venues surveyed in 2013 as part of the Economy Committee of the London Assembly’s ‘Centre Stage’ report into the needs of small theatres in London said they needed to significantly upgrade or repair their buildings but 93% had yet to raise the money to carry out the work.

The Theatres Trust is pleased to announce that five small theatres in London will benefit from the first round of its new London Theatres Small Grants Scheme, made possible through a donation from the Mackintosh Foundation.

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Theatres Trust comments on Government Business Rates proposals inquiry

27th January 2016

The Theatres Trust has submitted evidence to the Government Business Rates proposals inquiry.

Read The Theatres Trust’s submission here.


Patrick Dillon and Richard Baldwin appointed as members of The Theatres Trust

12th January 2016

Architect Paddy Dillon, and developer, Richard Baldwin appointed as new trustees of The Theatres Trust, the National Advisory Public Body for Theatres.

Paddy Dillon succeeds architect, Tim Foster as the Trust’s Architect Trustee. Richard Baldwin brings his experience in the property development sector, a role last filled by Ron Spinney CBE in 2008.

Commenting on the news, Tim Eyles, Chair of The Theatres Trust said: “These two exceptionally talented individuals bring their knowledge and reputation to the Trust as we enter our 40th anniversary year. Both Paddy and Richard are leaders in their fields and their expertise in theatre architecture and property development is nationally recognised. I’m very much looking forward to working with them both.”

Paddy Dillon said: “I am really pleased to have been appointed to succeed Tim Foster, and look forward to advising the Trust on architectural approaches to safeguarding the brilliant theatre buildings of the past, and ensuring their continued relevance to our cultural life.”

Richard Baldwin said: “I’m delighted to be joining the Trust at an exciting time when property developers are becoming more involved in delivering theatre buildings. Theatres face real challenges in the planning system and need to demonstrate their viability in commercial schemes. I am committed to helping the Trust make the case.”

Their appointments are made by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP, through the public appointments process. Both terms of office run from the 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2018. They join a group of 15 trustees responsible for the governance of the Trust.

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Theatres advised by Theatres Trust to receive Stage One Arts Council England Capital funding

7th January 2016

Six theatres are among sixteen arts organisations whose capital projects will be funded by the Arts Council England’s Large Capital Grants Scheme, announced today.

The Theatres Trust is providing capital planning advice to many of the successful theatres, including the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, the Royal Court in Liverpool, and Polka Theatre, Wimbledon.

A number of these theatres have participated in our capital project workshop programme, and we supported the Octagon Theatre by providing a peer-based Advisory Review of their proposals.

Successful applicants now have up to eighteen months to develop full Stage Two applications, and funding of £57 million will be available if they are successful.

Mhora Samuel, Director of The Theatres Trust, said “It is great to see such high quality theatre projects included in this funding round. We have already been in touch with all successful applicants to offer our congratulations and continue to offer our advice, encouragement and support.”


Theatres pushing at an open door with developers

4th January 2016

Theatres are pushing at more of an open door when it comes to developer partnerships – the relationship is symbiotic – we need to create more ‘winning double acts’.

Read more headlines from The Theatres Trust’s Valuing Theatres Conference 15 Report, now available online.

Written by Emily Wright, the Features and Global Editor at the Estates Gazette, the report evokes the positive spirit of The Theatres Trust’s 2015 conference and how much the relationship between theatres and developers has changed for the better.

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Looking ahead to 2016: the industry speaks

3rd January 2016

Mhora Samuel, Director of The Theatres Trust has been quoted in The Stage.

As the new year begins, The Stage asked some of the theatre industry’s leading figures about what they think the biggest issues facing the sector will be over the next 12 months…

“For those thinking of raising money for capital projects, needing to be on the front foot to build developer partnerships and relationships with Local Enterprise Partnerships – the Lottery will be under real pressure and local authorities are facing serious financial challenges. My advice – think entrepreneurially, be opportunistic and don’t be afraid of innovating.” Mhora Samuel, Director, The Theatres Trust

Looking ahead to 2016: the industry speaks
Published 3 January 2015


The Theatres Trust

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