Theatres at Risk Register 2023 unveiled

We have just published our annual list of theatres under threat of closure, redevelopment, or demolition across the UK.

Now in its 17th year, the Theatres at Risk Register calls the public’s attention to these important buildings, their challenges, and the significant cultural opportunities they can bring to local communities. 

This year’s Theatres at Risk Register consists of 38 theatres, with three having been removed, all for positive reasons, and no new additions to the list.

Auditorium of historic theatre Walthamstow Granada

Theatres removed from the Theatres at Risk list

We have removed three theatres from the list, which are no longer considered at risk due to advocacy, planning and viability advice from Theatres Trust, along with the vital support of their respective local authorities, theatre operators and community groups.

Read more about the theatres removed from 2023 Theatres at Risk list.

Exterior of Century Theatre

Progress for theatres on the list

Although they remain on the list, there has been good news for Spilsby Sessions House, which is a key project in a successful Levelling Up bid, and for Morecambe Winter Gardens, which will benefit from the same fund in the go-ahead to the neighbouring Eden Project North. 

Steady progress is also being made at other theatres remaining on the list, including Burnley Empire, Leith Theatre and Theatre Royal Margate, but these theatres face the same challenges as the wider sector, particularly escalating construction work costs and scarcity of funding.

See the full Theatres at Risk list at a glance.

Auditorium of historic Morecambe Winter Gardens with lavishly decorated ceiling and man playing the organ.

Negative outlook

The situation is looking particularly bleak for two theatres on the list, despite strong opposition by Theatres Trust and their local communities.

  • Dudley Hippodrome, the only remaining lyric theatre in the town, is on a site approved for a new university centre.
  • Intimate Theatre, Enfield, where a number of stars including Richard Attenborough and David Bowie performed early in their careers, will be redeveloped to build a new parish hall and residential accommodation.

They remain on the list for now in the slim hope that there is any last-minute reprieve.

Auditorium of Dudley Hippodrome in use as a bingo hall

Challenging times for theatres

Although no additional theatres were added to the Theatres at Risk Register this year, the theatre sector faces a challenging environment due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis and funding cuts and shortfalls. 

As the true impact of rising construction and energy costs, cost-of-living crisis and squeezed council budgets becomes known, the challenge to secure the futures of Theatres at Risk will be more difficult than ever and there is a real fear that more operational theatres may become ‘at risk’.

However, despite the difficulties, local support and collaborative working still pays off and the opportunities these buildings offer their communities are immense.

Download the full press release.

Watch the Theatres at Risk Register 2023 launch 

Watch the Theatres at Risk Register 2023 launch event on YouTube

Image credits:

  • Walthamstow Granada - Ian Grundy, 2020
  • Century Theatre - Ian Grundy, 2018
  • Morecambe Winter Gardens - Theatres Trust, 2023
  • Dudley Hippodrome - Ian Grundy, 1995