Wellingborough Castle Theatre contract awarded to Parkwood Creative
Parkwood Creative, which operates Parkwood Theatres, has won the contract to run the Wellingborough Castle Theatre, taking its UK portfolio of venues to six.
The Castle closed in June 2016 when its then operator went into liquidation. A couple of months later the council stepped in to keep it going.
It has now awarded the operating contract to Parkwood, which will begin running the venue from January 2019. Parkwood currently operates venues including the Landmark in Ilfracombe and the Playhouse in Weston-super-Mare.
Parkwood commercial director Stuart Shanks said: “I have always thought there has been untapped potential with this theatre. I think it could be a nice, busy community theatre and, from a commercial point of view, I think it has legs.”
He added: “When you take over these regional venues the programme always evolves over time. Our intention is to look at what works and what doesn’t and improve the programme, and bring in large scale shows as and when.”
As part of the agreement, the council said it had committed capital to make improvements to the 500-seat venue, which will include updating seats and internal decorations.
Council leader Martin Griffiths said: “It has been a long and difficult journey since the theatre closed its doors nearly two years ago and without the dedication and commitment of members and officers of the council – and particularly the team at the theatre – we would not be where we are today. I am confident that the time it’s taken to find the right operator for our theatre has been worthwhile.”
He added that councillors “wanted to see the Castle survive and succeed”, and said: “We are very much looking forward to working with our new operator who already has some ideas and exciting plans to improve the venue and make it truly a theatre for the people of the borough.”