Brighton Hippodrome could once more be used as a cultural venue after the derelict theatre was purchased by Academy Music Group.
AMG has been the building’s leaseholder for the last eight years, but following the purchase of the freehold the company will undertake a feasibility study to identify a future use for the grade II*-listed theatre, which has been closed since 2007.
The move follows the withdrawal of cinema chain Vue from the redevelopment in January, which saw plans for the Hippodrome to be turned into a cinema and restaurant complex fall through .
Over the next six months, AMG will work with organisations including the Theatres Trust and Brighton and Hove City Council to jointly commission the study, which could recommend that the building be restored for cultural use.
Theatres Trust director Mhora Samuel said: “We are pleased to be supporting this initiative. The group will be working together over the next six months to find a solution that will protect the historical and cultural significance of this Frank Matcham theatre and identify a beneficial viable use.”
Other organisations involved in the process include Historic England, Our Brighton Hippodrome, Brighton Hippodrome Community Interest Company and the Frank Matcham Society. A stakeholder group, including representatives from all of the organisations involved, has been created to oversee the study.
AMG’s head of property Russell Duly said the company would provide “full support” to the feasibility study in order to ensure the process was “collaborative and experienced”.
AMG currently owns 26 music venues across the UK, including O2 Academy venues in Glasgow, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool and London.
Last year, the Hippodrome topped the Theatres Trust’s Theatre Buildings at Risk Register .
David Fisher, on behalf of Our Brighton Hippodrome and Brighton Hippodrome CIC, said: “This is the moment we have been working towards for the past 18 months. We are pleased and excited that Academy Music Group is creating this opportunity. However, this is not the end of the line, just the first milestone. We shall now be working hard on the business proposition with our stakeholder partners.”