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Theatre Royal Margate at risk after planned takeover by Soho Theatre falls through

Theatre Royal Margate
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The future of the Theatre Royal Margate is in jeopardy, after a planned takeover by London’s Soho Theatre collapsed.

The Theatre Royal Margate – currently one of the Theatres Trust’s most at-risk venues – is owned by Thanet District Council and is being run on a temporary basis by Your Leisure, which took on the running of the building after the Margate Theatre Royal Trust went into administration in 2012.

A viability assessment was carried out in 2014 to see how it could become financially self-sufficient, with the lease for the building then put out to tender.

Soho Theatre Group won the bid, on the understanding it would secure funding to carry out substantial works to the building.

However, it has emerged that Soho Theatre was unsuccessful in securing the necessary funding, and has since stepped away from the proposed arrangement.

A spokeswoman for the Soho Theatre said: “We have helped to explore a number of possibilities for the future of the Theatre Royal Margate, together with Thanet Council, the Theatres Trust and other interested parties. But any such plans are likely to require a significant amount of capital funding and at present this is unidentified.”

She added: “There are no clear plans for us to take the building on but we will continue to offer any support that we can to the local councils and stakeholders to try to secure a positive outcome for the future of the venue, which was added to the Theatres Trust’s At Risk Register in January.”

Soho Theatre had requested more than £4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to work on the project, which would have included the creation of a restaurant, bar and hotel alongside the theatre.

However, HLF rejected the application “in light of the available budget”.

The theatre, built in 1787, is a grade II-listed building.

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