The Theatres Trust has today published its annual Theatres At Risk Register, which is its 13th year of publication. Yet again this year, the North West of England has the highest concentration of endangered buildings.
The list of 30 theatre buildings are those most at risk of being lost due to closure, irreversible changes, demolition or simply neglect. With the appropriate help these historic (sometime listed) buildings could become vital assets to their communities again. Once gone, they will never return.
Of the 30 theatres, 24 are in England with 10 of those in the north west and 4 in London. 3 are in Wales and 3 are in Scotland.
Changes from last year include the removal from the list of two buildings- the Bradford Odeon, due to extensive renovation work, and the ex-Odeon Peterborough, now reopened as the New Theatre.
Sadly there is one new addition to the list this year is the Grade II listed Groundlings Theatre in Portsmouth which has suffered from the effects of recent break-ins and vandalism as well as a neighbouring redevelopment threat.
Positive steps have also been made with the theatres who received financial and advisory support from the excellent new Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme – Burnley Empire, Morecambe Winter Gardens, Salford Victoria, Spilsby Theatre, Swindon Mechanics’ Institute, along with Peterborough New Theatre. Launched as a pilot scheme in 2019, the programme provides grants and in-depth advice from the Theatres Trust for the early stage work that is often difficult to fundraise for but essential to set theatres at risk on the path to revival.
There is also progress at the Walthamstow Granada in London which has been bought by the local council and is in the first stages of refurbishment (sadly complicated by the discovery of asbestos in its construction, which will add several million pounds to the overall renovation cost). You can read about my recent visit to the Walthamstow Granada here
This new Register underlines the extensive, valuable work which the Theatres Trust do to help keep our precious entertainment buildings from the wrecker’s ball.
To explore the full Theatres at Risk Register, click here