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Our role in protecting theatres

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Mhora Samuel

Theatres Trust Director

As the Theatres Trust publishes its Theatre Buildings at Risk Register, Theatres Trust Director Mhora Samuel discusses how the trust is working to ensure theatres have a voice and why we need to protect them.

Each year we publish a Theatre Buildings at Risk Register(TBAR) to raise public awareness of theatres that are under threat, lie abandoned or closed. The Register also promotes the better protection of those theatres at risk from neglect, deterioration, and development.

This year’s list

The Register has seen year on year reductions, with 56 theatres at risk in 2011 and 49 in 2012. The 2013 Register profiles 48 theatre buildings at risk in the UK with 39 in England, seven in Wales and two in Scotland.
There are 10 new additions to the 2013 Register (nine in England and one in Wales) while 11 theatres have been removed, of which seven were successfully deemed no longer at risk but sadly four are losses that will either be demolished or no longer be used as theatres.
You can read the full list of theatres at risk in this year’s report.

Future secured

Seven theatres have been removed from the Register. Three of these are in Scotland, including the Britannia Panoptican in Glasgow, Leith Theatre and the Odeon/New Victoria in Edinburgh.
In England the Theatre Royal in Margate has been removed because it is being actively managed by the local authority. Stanford Hall Theatre in Stanford-on-Soar comes off because the building will be repaired and restored by the Black Stork Charity who will use the building as part of a Defence and Rehabilitation Facility for armed services personnel. The Little Germany Theatre / New Bradford Playhouse in Bradford is now operating successfully and the freehold of the Floral Hall in Hornsea has been transferred to a new charity, the Floral Hall Community Centre.

Promoting the protection of theatres

Some of the theatres on the 2013 TBAR Register are taking advantage of changes to local government and planning legislation – they’re being nominated as Assets of Community Value and written into Neighbourhood Plans. Government’s new National Planning Policy Framework has real potential to be a positive tool in helping to secure many of the theatres under threat and at risk. It’s definition of sustainable development recognises the value of cultural wellbeing.
The Trust continues to work hard to ensure those theatres on the 2013 TBAR have a voice and the need to protect them is understood by all those who have a stake in their future.
Find out more about our annual Theatre Buildings at Risk Register 2013 by visiting the Trust’s website.
Image credit: Mark Price. Stanford Hall Theatre, Stanford on Soar.

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