Financial future of Alnwick Playhouse secured
14 Dec 2017
The financial future of Alnwick Playhouse has been secured for both residents and visitors to the town.
Northumberland County Council has exchanged contracts with both the Northumberland Theatre Company (NTC) and Alnwick District Playhouse Trust who co-own the building.
The contracts include an agreement that the Council will grant a new 50 year lease to the Playhouse Trust to enable them to continue to operate the theatre, studio, bar and an expanded cafe facility.
Meanwhile the council will use the remaining part of the ground floor to provide a library, tourist information and customer service facilities. Work on the £2.5m refurbishment project will start next summer and is due for completion in May 2019.
The project will include the repair and refurbishment of the Playhouse to provide a modern multi-purpose building, that will service the needs of the community and visitors to the town.
Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “The Playhouse is one of the most well-loved buildings in Alnwick and we are committed to its future.
“This deal is great news for the town and will further improve what the Playhouse offers, while also providing a central location for council services.
“We appreciate the support from both Trusts in reaching this stage, which will secure the future of the Playhouse for years to come.”
Ward member for Alnwick, Councillor Gordon Castle added:
“This has been a long running County Council project with all party support to ensure that Alnwick Playhouse survives and develops as a Community Hub and cultural centre. The Playhouse will retain its primary role as a theatre and cinema and the library and Tourist Information Centre will occupy other parts of building. There will be a period of disruption whilst building works are undertaken, but I thank all the staff and board members for their patience and understanding whilst we have been dealing with many issues that needed resolving before we could go final. I’m sure it will be worth the extended effort that has gone into securing this. ”
Bryan Ellis chair of the Northumberland Theatre Company said: '' Northumberland Theatre Company is delighted that we have completed the deal with Northumberland County Council. We believe this is a win, win, win situation for all parties involved and will certainly help NTC to tour the UK with original productions employing local actors and stage staff. It is very appropriate that this deal has happened just prior to our 40th anniversary of national touring and taking the name of Northumberland around the UK. ”
Chris Sayers Chair of Alnwick Playhouse Trust said
“ I’m delighted that we have agreed this partnership with the County Council. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to fully restore and modernise The Playhouse and, at the same time, provide the town with a redesigned arts facility that will serve all of its needs, making The Playhouse an even more valuable asset for Alnwick and the surrounding area.”