Theatres at risk get financial support

Published: 22 May 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

The demolished interior of Derby Hippodrome
The interior of Brighton Hippodrome
The interior of Walthamstow Granada Credit: Mike Fox

Six theatres which are at various stages of restoration have been awarded a total of £67,500 as part of a building programme.

Theatres Trust, the national advisory body for theatre, has announced that the theatres are Brighton Hippodrome, Derby Hippodrome, Granada, Walthamstow, Groundlings Theatre, Portsmouth, Leith Theatre and Streatham Hill Theatre.

The building programme is designed to support theatres that are under threat so that they can commission expert advice and acquire the skills and knowledge to push forward capital projects to help save them.

Theatres Trust architecture advisor Claire Appleby said, "we know how difficult it can be for theatres to raise funding. We hope that with this support these theatres will be able to make real progress."

The building programme is supported by Historic England, the Pilgrim Trust and Swire Charitable Trust.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said, "it's great news that three of the historic theatres on the at-risk register—Brighton Hippodrome, Groundlings Theatre and Walthamstow Granada, all Grade II* listed—are being given a vital helping hand by being awarded a grant from this important scheme. We’re delighted to support this programme and to provide our advice and expertise."

Sue Bowers of the Pilgrim Trust added, "a restored, vibrant and well visited theatre building can assist with the regeneration of the centres of our towns and cities. We’re delighted to be funding this programme."

Martha Allfrey, trustee of the Swire Charitable Trust, commented, "we applaud the Theatres Trust's goal of removing vulnerable theatres from the at-risk register, thus securing the future of these vital cultural, community and heritage assets."

The programme is in its second year. Previously, it supported Burnley Empire, Morecambe Winter Gardens, Peterborough New Theatre, Salford Victoria, Spilsby Theatre and Swindon Mechanics' Institute.