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Reopening of Stockton live performance venue delayed again as costs soar

Stockton Globe Theatre. Photo: Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council Stockton Globe Theatre. Photo: Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
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The reopening of a grade II-listed cinema as a live performance venue in Stockton has been delayed by a further year, with costs of the project reported to have rocketed by £10 million.

A redevelopment of the Stockton Globe Theatre was first announced nine years ago, with the intention of reopening in 2012,

Initial works began on the site in 2011, but were stalled following a dispute between the theatre’s owner Jomast and the council, which has a long-term lease on the venue, as well as funding issues.

In May 2017, it was announced that the 3,000 capacity venue would be reopening in 2018/19, but this has now been delayed to 2020 because of “structural issues”. The cost of the project was initially put at £8 million, but is now about £18 million.

Stockton Globe Theatre restoration gets £4m HLF boost

The delay is due to a number of structural issues including unsupported walls, rotting timbers and a corroded drainage system.

According to the council, architects and engineers have “worked flat out” to redesign the project with solutions to the structural issues.

The new operator for the theatre when it reopens will be Ambassador Theatre Group, which has already begun booking live music and comedy acts for 2020.

The redevelopment of the Stockton Globe Theatre has been hampered by a number of structural issues

The Globe’s restoration consultant David Wilmore said: “Restoring old buildings is far more complicated than building new ones because you just don’t know what you’re going to come up against.”

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is contributing £13.25 million to the restoration, alongside a £4.5 million National Lottery grant secured through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Heritage Enterprise scheme.

The Globe opened in 1935 as a ‘super cinema theatre’, hosting both stage plays and films. Bands including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Buddy Holly also performed on its stage.

It became a bingo hall in 1977, before closing in 1996, and has been vacant since then.

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