Theatres at Risk

BRIGHTON HIPPODROME – AT RISK 

B Hippo as a MH 1902

Brighton Hippodrome as Music Hall in 1902

 

LATEST: The local Brighton Argus online newspaper reports that Academy Music Group has completed the sale of Matcham’s iconic Grade II* Hippodrome to developer Mosaique whose chief executive Aized Sheikh announced plans for a development of a boutique 5 star 70 bed hotel, 25 high end serviced apartments and a concert, theater[sic], conference and banqueting venue. This is the company behind the nearby Worthing Teville Gate project which has been long in planning.

It’s too early to know how the additional components will be fitted alongside the Hippodrome as the developer has not yet announced any detailed proposals or made an application. At first glance, it would seem that Brighton does not need another hotel, but could really make use of restored theatre able to take the big shows. The CIC and local campaign have cautiously welcomed the end of a long period of doubt over ownership.

Academy Music Group (AMG), the major music venue operator, purchased the freehold of Frank Matcham’s Brighton Hippodrome in 2015 but the City authority looked set to refuse a licence for music venue use. AMG then engaged with all the main stakeholders, including the Frank Matcham Society, to carry out a six month viability study to identify a future use for this unique Grade II* former circus variety theatre. The report concluded that there is a future for the Hippodrome. Brighton Hippodrome CIC has been set up to raise funds to hopefully purchase the building and lead a development project, with the stakeholder group acting as advisors. See the Brighton Hippodrome CIC Partnership statement here.

This great survivor is the most important of Frank Matcham’s works no longer in beneficial use. It is in the top six percent of all listed buildings in the UK and has the potential to be a major cultural asset to Brighton and the region. Please continue your support so that this opportunity is not to be missed to make it so. Follow the Our Brighton Hippodrome campaign news pages here.

 

THEATRES AT RISK

It is a sad reflection on our government, local authorities, listing processes and the property owners desire for maximising the amount of money to be made, all at the expense of the communities they claim to serve, that so many theatre buildings have been lost to car parks, luxury apartments or student flats, without any thought to what created the community and would maintain it to entertain and enrich the peoples lives. Hundreds of theatres have been lost and more are still at risk. Click here to view the Theatres Trust 2016 list of Theatre Buildings At Risk

See also our News updates here and our News Features page here which have more information on the plight of theatres at risk.

 

RECENTLY LOST

Granville Fulham (lost) drawing V&A Theatre Archive

Granville Fulham (lost) water damaged drawing © V&A Theatre Archive

In some cases, theatres lost to demolition are replaced by a new theatre. Unfortunately this is not always the case. The Theatres Trust publishes a list of all theatres by town, including those in other uses, disused or demolished. The incomparable Arthur Lloyd website also has a list of London’s lost theatres which includes historical details and many illustrations. It is also possible to search for more information about recently lost theatres such as the Nelson Palace, now a parking lot, and the Wallsend Borough, demolished for affordable housing.

 

LOSS IMMINENT

Scarborough council have given themselves permission to demolish the Futurist to be replaced by a small theme park at high cost but with no agreement with the rumoured operator, and despite a strong local campaign. Appeals to Historic England to list it, and for the Secretary of State to call in the action, have fallen on deaf ears.

Derby Hippodrome is still largely roofless when the owners’ contractor sent to carry out repairs, removed a large section instead.  Several small fires have contributed to dereliction.

London Borough of Southwark, a cradle of early theatre, have given their developer partner permission to demolish the Elephant & Castle Coronet, a substantial rebuild of Frank Matcham’s first theatre into a cinema, but with Matcham’s DNA in it’s structure; no replacement yet announced.

Plymouth Palace is now suffering increased dereliction since a charity attempted restoration in the face of reluctance by the city authorities to find a solution to inaction by the owner.

Eccles Crown has lost it’s stage house and parts of the auditorium behind the thankfully intact facade, whilst the owner makes inappropriate planning applications and a local campaign seeks a solution. This is one of several theatres around Greater Manchester at risk but with huge amounts of public funding going into city centre projects.

Follow the Links below for more information:

 

CAMPAIGNS TO SAVE THEATRES

Brighton Hippodrome
Burnley Empire
Coronet Elephant and Castle
Derby Hippodrome
Dudley Hippodrome
Eccles Crown
Futurist Scarborough
Garston Empire
Hulme Hippodrome
Morecambe Winter Gardens
Plymouth Palace
Salford Victoria
Swansea Palace
Swindon Mechanics Institute
Tameside Hippodrome
Theatre Royal Hyde
Theatre Royal Peter Street Manchester