Thanet District Council has launched a programme of public engagement, to share plans for the ambitious project to restore and reinvigorate the Theatre Royal in Margate. Members of the public and stakeholders were invited to attend a drop-in event, on Thursday 7 December at the Theatre Royal in Addington Street, Margate, at the start of the engagement period.
Over 175 local residents and stakeholders came along to find out about the new vision for the Theatre Royal Margate and view the proposed plans for the development of the theatre and 19 Hawley Square. The council’s project team was on hand to answer questions, along with the architects. Visitors were invited to give their feedback on the proposed plans.
The information boards remain on display in the poster sites on the exterior of the Theatre Royal and on the council’s website. Residents are invited to submit their feedback and thoughts on the proposed plans via an online survey on Your Voice Thanet. Paper copies of the survey can also be collected from the reception area at the Council Offices in Cecil Street, from Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, until 4pm on Wednesday 20 December, when the survey closes.
There will be further opportunities for comment ahead of any designs reaching the planning stage.
Cllr Ruth Duckworth, Cabinet member for Regeneration and Property said: “I am delighted that so many local people were able to come along to the event to find out about the exciting new vision for the Theatre Royal. It combines the theatre’s impressive 245 year heritage, with a focus on performance and financial sustainability.
“There’s no doubt that this is an ambitious project. The proposed plans remain on display in the poster sites outside the theatre. I’d urge anyone who’s interested in the future of the Theatre Royal to come along to see them and tell us how they feel about the project during this engagement period.
“The views of local people are really important to us. We want to make the right decisions for the Theatre Royal, to ensure it has a viable future as a centre for the arts in Margate.”
The event also marked the launch of the council’s search for a new operator for the theatre. The council would like to hear from:
- Existing operators of theatres and other similar arts and entertainment venues
- Performing arts organisations seeking to expand and/or relocate to operate the theatre
- Smaller organisations and/or small groups and consortia interested in becoming part of a new organisation to operate the theatre
The council expects this opportunity to suit sector specialists who can operate all the required elements of the theatre themselves (e.g. venue programming, ticketing, event promotion and management, hospitality, backstage and technical and facilities management). At this stage, this is an exercise to test the market and not a call for competition.
Operators or local consortia who may be interested in this opportunity can find further information on the council’s website.
The Theatre Royal project has been allocated £2.2m of funding as part of the £22.2million Margate Town Deal. However, the success of the project is reliant on securing significant funding from external sources. An application is in process for a further £3.2m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The council is also in conversation with the Arts Council regarding the possibility of applying to the Department of Culture Media and Sport’s Cultural Development Fund, which will be launched in 2024.
There is more information about the Theatre Royal project and Margate Town Deal programme on the council’s website.