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Dateline: 30th November, 2008

Derby Playhouse

Derby Playhouse: Future Settled in Two Weeks?

Derby Playhouse's future may finally be resolved on December 16th - the date of a creditors' meeting which will consider two possible rescue plans.

Former artistic director Stephen Edwards has come up with a last-ditch bid to save the theatre by offering to pay £45,000 of his own money up front. This would buy the Playhouse board more time to find a long-term investor.

The cash would allow rent on the theatre to be paid and prevent the company from going into liquidation. The board would then be given until April 30th to find a long-term lender.

The Playhouse has also started negotiations with Derby City Church which wants to buy the theatre's lease and use the building for services as well as staging plays.

If the creditors reject the board's latest plan, they would then look at an offer from Derby City Council to buy the theatre's fixtures and fittings.

The authority previously offered to pay £325,000 for the Playhouse's assets but has agreed to a request from administrators Tenon Recovery not to comment about its latest offer.

The council wants to use the theatre for performances as part of its Derby LIVE programme. But this depends on Derby Playhouse Ltd being liquidated, at which point the authority would take control of the building.

The theatre went into administration just over a year ago. Tenon allowed the theatre to reopen to stage The Killing of Sister George but the rest of the autumn season, including the Christmas production Peter Pan, has been cancelled.

Steve Orme

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©Peter Lathan 2008