10 theatres added to the Theatres Trust annual “at risk” register.
The Theatres Trust in the UK has added 10 more venues to its annual “Theatres at Risk Register”, now in its 16th year of publication. This number is far higher than in recent years of publication.
In London, the Borough Halls in London Borough of Greenwich has been added to the list in the area of theatre buildings that continue to face the threat of demolition and redevelopment. The 1939 Grade II listed venue is an important example of a 1930s municipal building in the Dudok-inspired style, and internally is almost completely intact in terms of fixtures and fittings including the marble lined stair and the original timber wall panelling to both halls.
Theatre producers Selladoor Worldwide (Bring It On) had proposed to redevelop the venue as the new Greenwich Festival Theatre, building a 650 seater main auditorium and a 240 seater studio space, plus brasserie bar and rooftop terrace; but sadly talks with the borough collapsed in 2020.
There are 41 theatres in total across the UK that are in danger of being lost. The 10 new theatres added to the list include the Amulet Theatre in Shepton Mallet, the Roundhouse in Dover, the Globe in Plymouth, the Regent Theatre in Great Yarmouth, Clair Hall in Haywards Heath, Netherton Arts Centre in Dudley, and Thameside Theatre in Thurrock, Garrick Theatre in Southport, and Imperial Theatre in Walsall.
The pandemic has accelerated and exacerbated the struggles of businesses and local authorities, and this has a knock-on effect to the at-risk buildings they own. The register details that an emerging trend amongst local authorities is to look to dispose of the theatre buildings they own, with no guarantee that they’ll be kept in community use.
The Theatres Trust is a charity that campaigns to protect the UK’s theatres. The Theatres at Risk Register supports theatres under threat of closure, redevelopment or demolition across the UK, calling the public’s attention to these important buildings, their challenges, and the significant cultural opportunities they can bring to local communities. Every theatre on the register has strong architectural merit, cultural heritage or value to the local community as a performance venue. Crucially, all of them have the potential to be revived with the right support.
David Morrissey, Theatres Trust Ambassador, actor and director, said in a press statement: “Theatres play a vital role in communities across the country and in supporting actors like myself who without their local theatre would not have developed a theatre career. The pandemic has been devastating for the whole theatre sector, but we must work together to make sure the theatres on the Theatres at Risk list are supported and protected for future generations to enjoy.”
Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan said: “We are now starting to see the true extent of the effects of the pandemic on the UK’s wonderful theatre buildings, hitting well-loved community theatres as well as historic theatres that had been protected by other uses like being bingo halls. Theatres Trust would urge anyone who owns a theatre building to consider its long-term value as a performance space and work with us to keep these buildings in use for their communities.”
There is some hope though! Since the Theatres at Risk Register started in 2006, 80 of the 187 theatres on the list have been reopened as live performance venues, are under refurbishment or have a replacement planned, including the Alexandra Palace Theatre, Bradford Odeon, Peterborough New Theatre and Stockton Globe.
In 2021 it was announced that the Saville Theatre in London was saved from hotel redevelopment and has been acquired by the same developers as the new Olympia Theatre. There are also a number of new theatres being built in London over the next few years.
Main photo: Interior of Borough Hall, photo: Ian Grundy
Theatres Trust – Theatres at Risk register for 2022
- Brighton Hippodrome
- Theatre Royal Margate
- Victoria Pavilion/Winter Gardens, Morecambe
- Dudley Hippodrome
- Hulme Hippodrome, Manchester
- Plymouth Palace
- Victoria Theatre, Salford
- Groundlings Theatre, Portsmouth
- Spilsby Theatre, Lincolnshire
- Streatham Hill Theatre, London
- Theatr Ardudwy, Harlech
- Winter Gardens Pavilion, Blackpool
- Burnley Empire
- Garston Empire, Liverpool
- Intimate Theatre, Palmers Green, London
- Mechanics Institute, Swindon
- Tottenham Palace Theatre
- Century Theatre, Coalville, Leicestershire
- Granada, Walthamstow, London
- Leith Theatre
- Joe Longthorn Pavilion, Blackpool
- Roundhouse Theatre, Dover – NEW
- Co-op Music Hall, Ramsbottom
- Doncaster Grand
- Kings Theatre Continental Restaurant and Ballroom, Dundee
- Amulet Theatre, Shepton Mallet – NEW
- Conwy Civic Hall (Cube), Wales
- Derby Hippodrome
- Imperial Theatre, Walsall – NEW
- Borough Hall, London Borough of Greenwich – NEW
- Kings Theatre, Kirkcaldy
- Thameside Theatre, Thurrock – NEW
- Garrick Theatre, Southport – NEW
- Tameside Hippodrome, Ashton-under-Lyne
- Globe Theatre, Plymouth – NEW
- Clair Hall, Haywards Heath – NEW
- Netherton Arts Centre, Dudley – NEW
- Regent Theatre, Great Yarmouth – NEW
- Swansea Palace
- Theatre Royal, Hyde, Cheshire
- Theatre Royal, Manchester