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Theatres Trust releases new ‘at risk’ theatre list

The Theatres Trust is celebrating two removals from its Theatres At Risk register after investment in the Bradford Odeon (pictured) and Peterborough New Theatre led to their futures as performance venues being ensured.

The 2020 Risk Register, which is collated annually by the Theatres Trust – the national advisory public body for theatres – this year lists 30 buildings across England, Scotland and Wales it believes could be demolished or redeveloped.

Bradford Odeon, which opened in 1930 as the largest ciné-variety theatre outside London, is being restored thanks to the dedication of Bradford Live and will reopen in 2020-2021 with the NEC Group on board as operating partner. The venue will host an expected 300,000 visitors each year with a programme of more than 200 events.

Peterborough New Theatre, a former Odeon cinema with restored interiors, is now under the management of Selladoor Worldwide and re-opened in September 2019 with a programme of quality large-scale theatre productions.

Theatres Trust trustee Gary Kemp, the actor and Spandau Ballet star, said access to live performance venues is “vital.”

He added: “Having access to live performance venues around the country is vital – for audiences to have a good night out but also to provide places for performers starting out to learn their craft and for communities to come together. I have been fortunate enough to perform in amazing theatres throughout my career.

“There are some truly stunning and unique buildings on the Theatres at Risk register but importantly, none of them are lost causes. With the right level of support and the expertise provided by the Theatres Trust, all have the potential to be restored and enjoyed by their communities for generations to come.”

The only new addition to the 2020 list is the Grade II listed Groundlings Theatre in Portsmouth, which was built in 1784 as the first free school in the city, with the upper floor used for theatre and concerts.

Theatres Trust also notes that “significant progress” has been made in several cases with the council working with Soho Theatre to restore and reopen this historic Grade II-listed building and reinstitute live performance.

Theatres that remain on the list from last year include Brighton Hippodrome, Theatre Royal Margate, Duddley Hippodrome and Spilsby Theatre.

Looking ahead, Theatres Trust said: “Theatres Trust is calling for more collaborative creative partnerships between local authorities, theatre owners and operators and community groups to protect all theatres on the list.”

Image: Mtaylor848