Theatres ‘just a few good decisions’ from living again’

Dara � Briain
Dara � Briain
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THE loss of a landmark theatre in Scarborough should fire a warning shot across the bows of other local authorities, a charity warned last night.

The Theatres Trust unveiled a register of 35 theatrical buildings across Britain which it said were most at risk of being lost, despite offering the potential for being redeveloped as performance spaces.

The list includes the Doncaster Grand Theatre and Bradford’s Odeon – but the Futurist in Scarborough, which was on last year’s register, has been removed following the council’s confirmation that it would be demolished.

The comedian Dara Ó Briain (inset), who is a trustee of the charity, said the 35 buildings were not on the register because they were “beautiful ruins”, but “because they are just a few good decisions from living again; of taking their place at the heart of their communities, of entertaining further generations”.

Tom Stickland, the Trust’s theatres advisor, said the decision to pull down the Futurist was “very sad”. He told The Yorkshire Post: “There was a case to be made that the theatre there would still have been viable, but the council there failed to see the opportunity that theatre presented.”

He added: “It’s very important to have theatres open for communities – not just for the culture but also the economic benefit they bring to local businesses, restaurants and other parts of the local economy.”

He said that with “an operator on board and a strong business plan”, the signs were looking better for the Bradford Odeon, which has been closed since 2000 but which is now being developed as a live event venue, with plans to open in 2020.

But Mr Stickland said it would be “a long process” to bring the disused Doncaster Grand back into use. It was given listed status, preventing demolition, in 1994.