Theatres Trust calls for action to save endangered seaside theatres
Just under half of all UK theatres currently at risk are in coastal towns, the Theatres Trust has revealed, as it issues a plea for seaside venues to be “restored and repurposed”.
By investing in the buildings, it claims that they could become cultural hubs to “serve their local communities and drive regeneration”.
The trust has recently submitted evidence to a House of Lords select committee that is looking into the regeneration of seaside towns.
In its response, the trust states that, of the 35 theatres it has identified as most at risk, 15 are in coastal communities. These include the Grand Theatre in Llandudno and the Swansea Palace.
It adds that two coastal theatres were “lost to demolition” last year.
“There are theatres in need of investment that, once supported, could bring a creative regeneration to communities in need of an influx of new industry and new draws into the town centres,” the trust says.
It reveals that only five pier theatres remain, adding that the “experience of a pier theatre is a hallmark of British summer holidays”.
The trust writes that it wants to see coastal theatres protected “so they can continue to contribute to their local communities”.
In its response, the trust warns that come local councils have been reluctant to serve repair notices on owners of theatres “in fear that, if the work is not carried out, then the obligation would transfer to the council”. It states that local authorities do not have the budget or specialisms to cope with this.
The trust also urges planning committees to “react positively” to proposals to use vacant buildings for cultural purposes on a temporary basis.
It claims that doing this can bring people into the area and “stimulate the local economy”.