Plymouth Palace Theatre rescued by youth charity
Plymouth’s derelict Palace Theatre has been saved by a youth training charity.
Last year the Theatres Trust named the Palace one of the top three theatres in the country under most immediate threat of permanent closure.
Go! (Great Opportunities) Together has taken out a 35-year lease on the dilapidated building, and will use its restoration to provide apprenticeships and training opportunities in construction.
It is hoped the restoration will take three years, though Go!’s chief executive Heather Hunter said it might be possible to stage performances in the unfinished venue subject to health and safety regulations.
She said the charity would conduct a public consultation to determine how the renovated venue would be used, but confirmed she hoped it would be used for theatre.
“Clearly, this is a beautiful old theatre and should have the ability to be used for theatrical performance – however, it’s also got to have a wider community use,” she added.
She expressed hopes that when the venue was in use it would provide jobs for young people who were disabled, had learning difficulties or were at risk of offending.
Though the use of the space is likely to be flexible, it is estimated that the theatre will be able to seat a maximum of 1,000 people.
When it opened in 1898, the Palace Theatre had a 1,610-seat capacity. However, it has not been used as a theatre since 1983, and has been in total disuse since 2006.