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Exeter’s Bike Shed plans crowdfunded quayside pop-up theatre

The venue for the proposed Boat Shed pop-up. Photo: Bike Shed Theatre The proposed venue for the pop-up Boat Shed theatre. Photo: Patrick Cullum
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Exeter’s Bike Shed Theatre is aiming to raise £25,000 through crowdfunding to open a pop-up Boat Shed theatre in a series of disused quayside warehouses.

Director of the Bike Shed David Lockwood hopes to turn the space into a creative hub for the region for 16 weeks in the summer to “give a taste” of what the future of the buildings could be.

Plans for the project include a theatre, gallery, ice cream parlour, cocktail bar, and mini golf course, with events including a music festival and a craft fair.

Lockwood said: “To make these historic buildings work properly and safely, to preserve their unique character whilst making them fit for today, requires an eye-watering £6 million pounds.

“To test things out for the summer, though, costs a rather more reasonable £25,000. We’re going to take some risks, try to create something new and see what happens.”

The £25,000 will go towards making the building safe, plumbing toilets, and building a bar. The project has already raised more than £6,500 on its website.

Lockwood added: “Like the summer, the Boat Shed won’t last. It’s not meant to, it’ll be there for a few weeks and then it’ll go.

“And the bits that work, the bits that you like, we’ll bring them back next year. And so on.”

The first of the quayside warehouses was built in 1832, with a few others built alongside it in the following years. The buildings were later joined to make a series of connecting warehouses.

They have remained largely empty for many years since they were last used as a maritime museum in the 1990s.

The Bike Shed Theatre initially announced £4 million plans to redevelop the disused warehouse into a creative hub in 2015.