Saturday, July 13, 2024

Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal set to be rescued by council

A 165-year-old theatre that has faced financial difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic is set to be bought by a council.

Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal has been forced to cancel or postpone all its performances since last March.

Portsmouth City Council has proposed buying the Grade II listed building for an undisclosed sum and leasing it back to its management trust.

The theatre said the rescue plan offered a “clear way forward”. The 650-seat theatre re-opened in 2015 after a £4.5m revamp, which saw a new stage, backstage area and additional performing spaces created.

Along with other theatres and arts venues it has been hit hard by lockdown measures and social distancing rules.

The city council said a review it commissioned showed that even with the impact of the pandemic, the theatre could have a bright future with the right programme of performances.

It said the purchase would provide the New Theatre Royal Trust with an opportunity to get back on a “more sound financial footing”.

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