Theatres at Risk Register 2024 announced

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

This year’s Theatres at Risk Register consists of 39 theatres, which all have strong architectural merit, cultural heritage or value to the local community as performance venues. See the full Theatres at Risk list.

We have added two theatre buildings to the register as their futures look at risk.  These are tougher times for the theatre sector due to factors including the cost-of-living crisis and the difficult economic barriers facing the industry following the pandemic. One theatre, Dudley Hippodrome, has been removed due to demolition.

Now in its 18th 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. Since the list began in 2006, more than 80 theatres have been restored, revived or had a suitable replacement built.

Read our full press release

Theatres added to the Theatres at Risk Register 2024

Abbeydale Picture House in Sheffield, a Grade II listed former cine-variety theatre, has been added to the list as its building fabric has significantly deteriorated in recent years, leaving its main auditorium unusable and the programming of this community arts venue unviable. 

Auditorium of Abbeydale Picture House in disused stateEpstein Theatre in Liverpool also faces an uncertain future after Liverpool City Council was unable to renew its lease of the building and subsequently the associated management agreement with the incumbent theatre operator.  Operator Epstein Entertainments Ltd has likewise been unable to agree new lease terms with the building landlord forcing the theatre’s closure in June 2023.  This has left this unique theatre / concert hall vacant and with no plans for the future.

Auditorium of historic theatre, Epstein Theatre

Dudley Hippodrome removed from the Register

Dudley Hippodrome was sadly demolished in autumn 2023 to make way for a new university building.  A purpose-built 1930s variety theatre, it was the only remaining lyric theatre in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley. Theatres Trust, alongside a passionate local campaign group, had fought hard to save it, so is hugely disappointed with this outcome. Read more about Dudley Hippodrome.

Dudley Hippodrome in 1995 in bingo use.

Progress for theatres on the list

While no theatres have been removed from the list for positive reasons this year, slow but steady progress is being made with many buildings on the list, particularly due to the increased support Theatres Trust is able to give them through our Resilient Theatres: Resilient Communities programme of grants, training and expert advice. This programme is providing valuable support to theatres on the list as they move forward through periods of change and development.

This includes grant support for engagement activities and market testing for a new vision for the Theatre Royal Margate, governance training for Spilsby Sessions House to strengthen their organisation as they embark on a major capital works project and consultancy advice for Leith Theatre as they take on a new lease for the building.  

Theatres at Risk Register 2024 launch event

You can watch a recording of the online event we hosted to coincide with the publication of the 2024 list. 

Watch the event on YouTube

Image credits:

Abbeydale Picture House - Matt Williamson
Epstein Theatre - Ian Grundy
Dudley Hippodrome - Ian Grundy