The building’s lease was taken over in May by Martin Gilfoyle, Steve Broadbent and Chris Frampton and already, the bar area has been transformed and completed. Now work is beginning on the foyer and box office areas.
“We were waiting for an asbestos report to come back before we could get started on the front and that’s now come back all clear so we’ve got going on the next stage of the project which is the foyer and the front stairs and then gradually move further into the building,” said Martin.
“Our first job was to remove a false ceiling that ran from the foyer all the way up the stairs and under that we uncovered all the original mouldings for the actual ceiling and a 10-foot arched window which had been boarded up in the 1980s.
“So we’re going to restore all that and that should hopefully be done in time for our first show on 26th October, which is going to be a local talent show called The Stage is Yours.”
“After we’ve completed the foyer and stairs, the next stage for us will be the outside rendering and we’ve got a grant of £2,000 from Growndworks and Dulux to help with scafolding and paint for that, so the next part oft he project will be to do the outside and that will start pretty soon.”
“We’ll also put in a new access to ensure the bar is a stand-alone part of the building and can be open in the day even when the theatre is not being used.”
“Eventually, we will move into the auditorium and turn that into a multi-purpose venue where we can take the seats out and use if for functions and events that are not just theatre, although we will remain theatre-based first and foremost, we want it to be something the whole community can use.”
“The theatre itself is in a good state of repair, it’s just a bit tired so it just needs a coat of paint and just waking up a bit.”
“We have another smaller auditorium upstairs and a recording studio too, which is basically finished and we already have some bookings for that.”
“The aim is to have everything finished by next summer and then we’ll have a superb venue for the commnunity.”
“The way we’ll operate is that Vital will put profits back into this building so the charities that operate in here will have better facilities to work in. Our aim is for this building to be a real hub of the community and something everyone can be involved with and use and I think we have everything to achieve that.”
The group would also like to hear from any local firms willing to help out the project in any way through donation of materials or expertise. Please email [email protected] to get involved.