The Round Theatre, Newcastle’s newest drama venue, has announced it has filed for voluntary liquidation just eight months after first opening its doors.
The theatre opened in October last year with just £20,000 to fund its ambitious programme of daytime and evening shows, despite having raised £1 million in under a year to convert a derelict warehouse into the north-east’s only theatre in the round.
Nine jobs, including three full-time posts and two newly-formed youth theatre companies headquartered in the theatre have been lost as a result of the decision by directors Jeannie Adams and Julie Blackie to cease trading and begin liquidation proceedings.
No one at the theatre was available to offer any comment to The Stage but a notice on the company’s website was at pains to stress that the insolvency did not affect the city’s long-established Bruvvers Theatre, from whom the warehouse space was leased.
The Round Theatre was built with capital funding from a consortium of parties in the Ouseburn district of Newcastle, an area the city is developing as a cultural quarter, but had failed to secure funding for programming or administrative costs.
The discovery of the £65,000 debt that led to the liquidation was just the latest body blow the company had received. During construction of the theatre, the original contracted builder went bankrupt and its first season was hampered by a lower than expected volume of school party visits. During the company’s third season, Adams told The Journal newspaper, “it started going horribly wrong” as average houses of just 52% fell far short of the 70% capacity the company had budgeted to break even.
While the lease of the venue now reverts to the Bruvvers Theatre company, Adams added that the Round could still be saved if creditors were paid and suitable subsidy guarantees for its future operations received before June 11.