Boost for the future of Doncaster’s Grand Theatre

Funding has been granted to commission a study which could help secure the future of Doncaster’s Grand Theatre.

Theatres Trust, the national advisory body for theatres, has announced Doncaster Grand Theatre is one of four UK theatres who will receive a share of £45,000 from the third round of its Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme. The other theatres are Brighton Hippodrome, Co-op Hall Ramsbottom and King’s Theatre Kirkcaldy.

The Doncaster Grand is an ornate Grade II listed Victorian theatre with strong community support. It has been on the Theatre Trust’s at Risk Register since the list started in 2006.

Doncaster Council has been awarded a Theatres at Risk Capacity Building grant of £11,500 to part-fund a viability study for the theatre.

The study will be led by the council with involvement from the Friends of Doncaster Grand Theatre and the building owner, Frenchgate Limited Partnership.

Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure, Culture and Planning, said:

“We are delighted our bid for funding was successful. The Grand Theatre is a much loved building in the heart of Doncaster town centre which we want to help bring back to life with our partners the Friends of Doncaster Grand Theatre, the Frenchgate Shopping Centre who own the building and the Theatres Trust.

“The grant will help us commission a study to identify potential viable options for its future so it can hopefully play its part in complementing the recently completed train station forecourt redevelopment nearby and the many other regeneration schemes we are undertaking to revitalise Doncaster town centre like the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum and the new Savoy Doncaster leisure complex in our Civic and Cultural Quarter.”

Karen Staniforth, The Frenchgate Shopping Centre General Manager, said:

“Although it’s early days, this is a positive step forward for the future preservation of the Grand Theatre. It will contribute to the wider plans for the Frenchgate Shopping Centre and Doncaster town centre.”

The programme is designed to support theatres on the Theatres Trust’s Theatres at Risk Register to commission expert advice and acquire the skills and knowledge to push forward capital projects to help save these architecturally important theatres. The theatres are all on the Theatres at Risk Register 2021, as announced in January, but are at various stages in their journey to restoration and revival.

This round of funding will support projects ranging from a building valuation survey to viability and community feasibility studies. Alongside the grant, each theatre will receive free support from the Theatres Trust advice team.

Claire Appleby, Architecture Adviser at Theatres Trust, comments:

“We believe every theatre on our Theatres at Risk list has the potential to be returned for use by their communities, providing performance venues of types currently lacking in their local areas and bringing much needed footfall to beleaguered high streets. We are pleased to support these theatres as we know from experience that these early stages can make a crucial difference to the progress of theatre revitalisation projects.”

Theatres that have received support through the past two rounds of the programme have made real progress. Morecambe Winter Gardens has reaped the benefits of governance and business planning support, unlocking more sources of funding and providing stability to survive the lockdown. Funding for a conditions survey and governance work has likewise helped the Groundlings Theatre in Portsea access funding for necessary repair works. Viability studies funded at Derby Hippodrome and Swindon Mechanic’s Institute have shown ways forward for the buildings, as a live music venue and a multi-purpose community and cultural space respectively.

Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme is made possible thanks to the generous support of The Pilgrim Trust and Swire Charitable Trust, with the past two rounds also funded by Historic England.

Sue Bowers, Director at The Pilgrim Trust says:

“Seeking solutions for historic buildings at risk is one of The Pilgrim Trust’s priorities, and so we are delighted that our partnership with the Theatres Trust does just that. Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme is an important step for local communities in preserving these culturally significant buildings now and in the future.”

Sarah Irving, Grants Manager at Swire Charitable Trust, says:

“We are delighted to be supporting the Theatres Trust’s Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme again. This vital programme is needed now more than ever to help create viable futures for these endangered local gems and support the community groups fighting to see them survive. We will follow the progress of each project with great interest.”

  • Category: Planning
Last updated: 02 June 2021 13:55:27