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Warehouse Theatre bar forced to close for survey

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THE shutters have been drawn on the last remains of the Warehouse Theatre this week after the bar and foyer were forced to close.

But both Jeremy Frost, the administrator of the theatre company, and former artistic director Ted Craig are hopeful the idea of an arts venue in the Dingwall Road premises is not lost totally.

The bar in the theatre has been run successfully as a separate operation since the Warehouse Theatre Company went into administration in May.

But its demise has been forced this week by the theatre's landlord, Stanhope/Schroders, who have taken back control of the building with the intention of carrying out a full structural survey to test the safety of the premises.

And the tone of a statement released by the partnership seems to indicate the chances of it being reopened are slim.

It said: "The building has fallen into disrepair and we understand that considerable expenditure will be required to get it into a condition that is fit for purpose."

Under a Section 106 planning agreement signed with the council when Stanhope/Schroders got planning permission for their Ruskin Square homes and offices development, the companies are committed to giving £3 million to help finance a new theatre on the site.

But the agreement stipulates that the money only becomes active if Stanhope/Schroders are presented with a viable business plan for a theatre.

In their statement, Stanhope Schroders say they have received proposals for a future theatre but no-one has come forward with a long term viable business plan.

However, they add this does not rule anything out.

Mr Frost said the way things were working out was not very helpful.

He said: "I have a business plan in front of me which would allow the theatre to run profitably and without public subsidy."

He wants Stanhope/Schroders to look seriously at the proposals which he believed could be transferred into a new theatre building in the future if it was not possible to reopen the existing premises in the meantime.

Mr Craig told the Advertiser he too had proposals for the premises, which are based on the Warehouse's annual playwriting festival.

He said: "I think the survey will find that the building is safe and hopefully we will be able to go ahead with our proposals."

Warehouse Theatre bar forced to close for survey


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