The Theatres Trust has removed three venues from their Theatres at Risk Register for 2023, after the Century Theatre, Walthamstow Granada and Swansea’s Palace Theatre were considered no longer at risk of closure, redevelopment or severe decay.
he charity and UK’s advisory public body for theatres has issued their annual report, which has identified 38 theatres from across the UK as at risk.
The Theatres Trust have said that the Century Theatre in Coalville, Leicestershire, east London’s Walthamstow Granada – soon to reopen as Soho Theatre Walthamstow – and the Palace Theatre in Swansea are no longer considered at risk due to advocacy, planning and viability advice from the Trust and the support of their respective local authorities, theatre operators and community groups.
Theatres Trust board member and Spandau Ballet star Gary Kemp said: “It is fantastic to see three significant theatres being removed from the Theatres at Risk list, as a result of campaigning and advice from Theatres Trust as well as the dedication of councils and local communities.
“The Theatres at Risk list is about finding the best use for buildings within their communities, so they can be enjoyed for many years to come, and these three theatres are shining examples of that.”
Having been threatened with redevelopment and added to the register in 2014, former travelling theatre Century Theatre has been removed now that it is now secure in its permanent Coalville home and well integrated in the local area and serving the community with improved facilities.
Elsewhere, the formerly empty and deteriorating Grade-II listed Walthamstow Granada is no longer deemed to be at risk after it was bought and refurbished by Waltham Forest Council, with Soho Theatre as the operator.
The theatre is set to reopen later in the year with its new identity as Soho Theatre Walthamstow.
After being a permanent fixture of the register since its inception in 2006, the Palace Theatre in Swansea will also no longer feature, as the distinctive Victorian musical hall is set to reopen as an office with a small scale event and performance space, after receiving help from a scheme by Swansea Council.
Despite the removal of the three venues from the register, the Theatres Trust have highlighted the Dudley Hippodrome and the Intimate Theatre in Enfield, north London, as particularly at risk as redevelopment plans, which will lead to their demolition, look certain to go ahead, despite strong opposition by the Trust and local communities.
Dudley Hippodrome, the only remaining lyric theatre in the West Midlands town, is on a site approved for a new university centre, while the Intimate Theatre, where a number of stars including David Bowie have performed, is set to be redeveloped to build a new parish hall and residential accommodation.
Despite the Trust’s concerns, no additional theatres were added to the Risk Register for 2023.
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Theatres Trust director Jon Morgan said: “As the true impact of rising construction and energy costs, the 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.”
The Trust also noted that despite remaining on the list, Spilsby Sessions House in Spilsby, Lincolnshire, Morecambe Winter Gardens in Lancashire, Burnley Empire in Lancashire, Leith Theatre in Scotland and Theatre Royal Margate in Kent have all made notable progress.