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At risk theatres given £90k boost to help renovation work in new funding scheme

Burnley Empire. Photo: Scrappy NW/Flickr Burnley Empire. Photo: Scrappy NW/Flickr
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Six endangered theatres across England have been awarded a share of £90,000 from a new fund created to support venues in need of restoration.

They are the first recipients of the Theatres Trust’s theatres at risk capacity building programme, which has allocated money for works including survey, structural inspection, governance training and viability studies.

Among those given funding include the Burnley Empire, which will receive £10,000 to fund necessary survey works, and Morecambe Winter Gardens, which will carry out new governance training and business planning support with a £22,000 grant.

All six theatres were featured on the Theatres Trust’s theatres at risk register in 2019, which highlights the country’s most endangered theatre buildings.

The Peterborough New Theatre – formerly the Broadway – will receive £7,500 to fund a ceiling void structural inspection, while Salford’s Victoria Theatre will get £21,600 to carry out a viability study to determine whether it can be restored for performance use.

Others awarded funding include Spilsby Theatre in Lincolnshire, which will receive £5,500 to help support the planning phase of its restoration.

Musician and actor Gary Kemp, who is a trustee of the Theatres Trust, said: “We know how difficult it can be for theatres to raise funding for the early stage concept and viability works and for organisational support.

“These first stages provide the vital foundations for both project and organisation, and we hope that with this support, these theatres will be able to make real progress.”

The programme is funded by Historic England, the Pilgrim Trust, Swire Charitable Trust and individual donors.

Theatres Trust urges local councils to work with owners to save 31 at-risk venues

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