Thanet District Council has been awarded £10,000 of grant funding from Theatres Trust’s Resilient Theatres: Resilient Communities project, in recognition of Theatre Royal Margate’s heritage and ‘at risk’ status.
This award follows an allocation of £2m in April 2022 for renovations at the theatre which came from the Margate Town Deal. The deal saw Margate receive £22.2m from the government’s Towns Fund to be spent on a number of projects to transform the town.
The Town Deal funding for the Theatre Royal will cover the extensive repairs that have been identified as essential to secure the existing building.
As part of this renovation project, the council is working with an advisory stakeholder group and will be looking for an operator and project partner, as well as making a funding submission to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for additional grants.
A specialist project manager was recruited and is now working to drive the project forward and to further define the business case for the development of the theatre.
The funding from the Theatres Trust will enable Thanet District Council to commission two important reports. Firstly, a heritage significance statement to summarise the theatre’s local, regional and national importance. It will include architectural merit and unique heritage features; alongside its social, artistic and cultural importance as the second oldest working theatre in the UK. Secondly, an update to the business case and an options appraisal for the future management of the theatre.
Louise Askew, Head of Regeneration and Growth for Thanet District Council, said: “The Theatre Royal Margate is a well-loved local venue, with an important role to play in Thanet’s night-time economy and in the provision of arts in the district.
“We are grateful for this additional funding from Theatres Trust – understanding the Theatre Royal’s history and current day viability is critical. This funding will inform not only the conservation and modernisation of the development but also support the vision and sustainability of the business case.”
Jon Morgan, Director at Theatres Trust, said: “We believe every theatre on our ‘Theatres at Risk’ list has the potential to be returned for use by their communities, providing performance venues of types currently lacking in their local areas and bringing much needed footfall to town centres. Theatres Trust is delighted to support the Theatre Royal Margate with this project that will help it move a step closer to its ultimate goal.”
The additional funding marks an important step in the process of applying to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for match funding for the conservation and restoration of the theatre.
Find out more about the background to the Theatre Royal refurbishment project in our newsroom.
You can find out more about Theatres Trust on their website.