Small bit a good news from Yorkshire. You might remember two years ago I reported the troubling news The Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond was in trouble. They weren’t exactly saying the theatre was under imminent threat from closure, but they hinted this might have to be the outcome if not enough backers came forwards. It’s not clear how likely this possibility actually was, but with nearby Darlington Arts Centre having already gone down the pan, it was certainly enough to get people worried.
Well, it looks like help is on its way. The news broke yesterday that the Georgian Theatre has scooped a £286k lottery grant to expand its exhibition and educational facilities. This is on top of £231k bequest made two years ago. Now, before you get too excited, this doesn’t necessarily mean the Georgian Theatre is off the hook just yet. This grant doesn’t actually cover running the theatre itself. Saltburn Theatre is currently having a similar struggle – they received a £50k lottery grant for sound, lighting and new seats, but they couldn’t use it to pay of the debts incurred in an attempt to convert an old school into an arts space. But with the historic character of the theatre being its key feature, surely this is going to make the cash flow a lot easier.
I’m still standing by my suggestion to the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse though – you should tour your London productions here. It’s a perfect venue for you.
Whilst I’m on the subject of funding of small theatres and funding, there’s also a major funding drive going on for Newcastle’s People’s Theatre right now. Unlike Richmond, there’s no suggestion of the People’s being in any trouble, and instead they’ve got grand designs for a £1.5m redevelopment. Yes, that’s one and a half million, but if that figure seems pie in the scheme for amateur dramatics, they are actually making good progress. They’re now a third of the way there, no sign of the funding stopping, and recently they’ve got planning permission. So this could also be exciting.
Oh, and here in Durham we’re looking for £25k to build a new entrance for our City Theatre. Any of you guys fancy chipping in a tenner?