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Brighton Hippodrome campaigners rally for final chance to save venue

Brighton Hippodrome's proscenium arch. Photo: The Theatres Trust
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Campaigners hoping to save the Brighton Hippodrome from being converted into a cinema and bar complex have attracted more than 1,000 supporters so far.

A petition – which closes today – calling for the disused venue to be reinstated as a live performance space, has gained around 1,050 signatures. It will be presented to a local council committee on January 23.

It urges Brighton and Hove City Council to bring the 1,400-seat hippodrome back into use as versatile space for live shows, highlighting its ability to accommodate large, top-class productions.

“The Hippodrome could be used in a variety of modes – as a proscenium theatre, as a theatre-in-the-round or with a thrust or open stage, or for ‘circus’ type of performance, similar to the Roundhouse in Camden, London,” says the petition.

It adds: “Such a venue would significantly enhance the city’s appeal to visitors, attracting audiences from across a wide area, including London, helping to make Brighton the principal cultural hub of the south-east region.”

This follows similar calls from industry chiefs including Cameron Mackintosh managing director Nicholas Allott, and Roundhouse artistic director and chief executive Marcus Davey, who wrote to the local authority urging it to secure the building’s future as a live venue.

Brighton Hippodrome was named one of the UK’s top theatres at risk from being lost as a performance space by national advisory body the Theatres Trust after proposals to slice up the grade II*-listed building into a cinema complex were revealed.

Alaska Development Consultants is planning an £18 million conversion of the venue into an eight-screen cinema and bar areas, which would involve demolishing the stage house and leasing out parts of the building.

Last year, the developer said it was in “detailed discussions” with Vue Entertainment for the cinema space and that talks had commenced with leading restaurant groups.

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