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Leicester’s only pub theatre seeks new management

The interior of Upstairs at the Western. Photo: Sean Goldthorpe The interior of Upstairs at the Western. Photo: Sean Goldthorpe
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Leicester’s only pub theatre is appealing for new management in order to secure its future.

The 50-seat Upstairs at the Western opened in 2012 and is operated by theatre company Off the Fence, which has decided to stop running the venue in order to concentrate on touring its own work.

A statement from the company said: “Our individual circumstances have changed over the past few years and after much thought and soul-searching, we have decided it is now time to hand over the reins of running Leicester’s pub theatre to somebody new.

“We are therefore looking for successors to continue to run and improve the theatre, as we believe it is vital Upstairs at the Western remains a jewel in the community’s crown long after we are forgotten.”

Since opening, the theatre has staged a mixture of work by Off the Fence and touring shows from other companies and artists. It has been run by the company itself and a group of volunteers.

The company’s directors are now calling for new management to take over the fringe theatre in order to continue its programme of theatre, dance, comedy and spoken-word.

Co-director Gary Philpott said a meeting held earlier this week had generated expressions of interest from theatre companies and local residents in taking over the space.

“We have developed a room above a pub into a fully furnished theatre, with a lighting rig and raked seating. We’re going to be giving that to whoever takes over, they’re going to inherit everything.” Philpott said.

“The theatre is in a deprived area of Leicester, and in the past four or five years we’ve added a lot to the area, so it is important, both culturally for the arts community and for the audience, the local community,” he added.

Bids are open until October 17, with the new management expected to take over programming of the venue from January 2017.

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