Error loading MacroEngine script (file: TDCMiniSearchwithdropdown.cshtml)

Theatre Royal, Margate

  • Theatre Royal, Margate

Theatre Royal, Margate


TR Inside2


 1. Introduction

Margate has an impressive future. It offers a combination of seaside location, heritage architecture, improved transport links and rich history and is attracting visionary investment. Margate was recently named one of the top ten ‘must-see’ destinations in the world. Investment in culture, in particular, is driving the regeneration of the town, as evidenced by the success of Turner Contemporary (a world class contemporary art gallery which has attracted over 1.5m visitors since it opened in 2011) and Dreamland, the UK’s Original Pleasure Park: Reimagined (which opened in 2015).

The Theatre Royal, Margate, together with 19 Hawley Square, offers a fantastic opportunity to enhance the arts, cultural, tourism and heritage offer of Margate. Ideally situated in the heart of Margate, this historic theatre was first constructed in 1787. The theatre is listed Grade II* and retains its Victorian interior dating from 1874. The adjacent 19 Hawley Square was a purpose-built hotel, dating from 1783. The Theatre and Hotel co-existed in a symbiotic relationship for 120 years and there is now an opportunity to revitalize these unique buildings for the future.

Both of these buildings, together with the smaller and adjoining 16a Hawley Square are in the freehold ownership of Thanet District Council. The council acquired the building with the aim of protecting their intrinsic historical and cultural significance and ensuring the continued operation of the theatre.

In order for the Theatre Royal to fulfil its potential alongside which, Thanet District Council is seeking an operator with far-reaching ambition and the ability to invest.

Organisations that are interested in this unique opportunity are invited to submit proposals, setting out their vision, ambition and plans for the buildings and services that they provide.


2.  The council’s offer


All three buildings, the theatre, 16a and 19 Hawley Square are in the freehold ownership of Thanet District Council.

The council recognises that investment is needed in all three buildings and that a successful long term commercial operation will be needed to ensure that this investment can be made.

The council is therefore offering a long term leasehold or freehold interest in the buildings on terms intended to support the level of investment required. The terms of the disposal will include provision for the protection of the theatre building for use as a theatre. This market engagement exercise has been designed to identify the most advantageous proposal for the revitalisation and long term operation of the theatre and association buildings.

The terms of the leasehold or freehold disposal will include appropriate covenant and overage provisions that restrict the use of the theatre and 16a Hawley Square as a theatre and associated supporting activities. Similar provisions will be included to ensure that the use of 19 Hawley Square is linked to the theatre and supports its on-going financial viability. It is also intended that all repairs and insuring liabilities will be the responsibility of the operator.

The inclusion of 19 Hawley Square in the offer is intended to enhance the commercial opportunities available to interested organisations and to provide a source of on-going funding support to the theatre. The council is flexible, subject to planning and licensing consents, about the future use of 19 Hawley Square, which could potentially include hotel, residential, restaurant facilities or other mixed uses. The council would also consider proposals for the theatre that do not include 19 Hawley Square, provided the long term sustainability of the theatre can be demonstrated.

The council is not proposing to provide any on-going financial support for the theatre and will therefore want to see business plan proposals that are financially viable and self-sustaining into the future. The council will however be supportive of bids for appropriate external funding, such as Arts Council, Historic England and Heritage Lottery funding.


3.   Your organisation


The council is particularly seeking parties who possess and are able to demonstrate the following attributes in their submission:-

  • Demonstrable ability to operate a theatre, ideally with case studies/examples;
  • Evidence of sound financial governance and details of the organisation;
  • Evidence of the capacity to manage the estate;
  • Experience of the refurbishment and repurposing of historic buildings
  • Evidence of being able to generate social/economic/environmental benefits to an area.

The council recognises that a single organisation or party may not be able to demonstrate all of these experiences and competencies and would therefore consider proposals from consortia or partnerships, provided there is a clear lead entity that can legally hold the legal interest in the land and buildings.


4.   Due Diligence


To assist in the consideration of submitted proposals the council will follow the principles set out in its published Due Diligence Protocol.

A copy of the protocol is provided as part of this document pack (document 3) for information. The information that the Council will need to assess your submission is set out in section 2.4 of the protocol.


5.    Document Pack


Before submitting proposals to the council please ensure that you have considered all of the details provided. They provide essential details of the proposed offer from the council and instructions about how to submit proposals. Please consider the following documents:

  1. Instructions and description of process - PDF
  2. Questionnaire - Word Document
  3. Due diligence protocol - PDF
  4. Theatre background and particulars - PDF
    Current Staffing PDF
    Committed Schedule PDF
  5. External viability assessment PDF
  6. Condition studies and asbestos reports - PDF
    Theatre Royal Report and Theatre Royal Certificate 
    19 Hawley Square Report and 19 Hawley Square Certificate 
  7. Schedule of Conditions
        Theatre Royal Budget Estimate
        19 Hawley Square Budget Estimate


Additional information

Theatre Royal

  1. 1874 Theatre Royal drawings
  2. Bonar Keelyside proposal
  3. Bonar Keelyside proposal: Basement
  4. Bonar Keelyside proposal: Ground floor
  5. Bonar Keeylside proposal: 1st floor
  6. Bonar Keeylside proposal: 2nd floor
  7. Theatre Royal Brief 2008 amended 2014
  8. Theatre Royal 2015-16 figures P&L
  9. Theatre Royal on-going funding agreements
  10. Theatre Royal bookings and deals from 1st October 2016

 Show figures (no fees information) 

  1. 2013-14
  2. 2014-15
  3. 2015-16

19 Hawley Square

  1. 19 Hawley Square elevations
  2. 19 Hawley Square appraisal
  3. 19 Hawley Square history of the former London Tavern
  4. 19 Hawley Square draft proposal basement
  5. 19 Hawley Square draft proposal ground floor
  6. 19 Hawley Square draft proposal first floor
  7. 19 Hawley Square draft proposal second floor
  8. 19 Hawley Square draft proposal third floor


6.   Viewing


Viewing of the land and buildings is recommended.

As the theatre and 16a Hawley Square are operational buildings managed by Your Leisure (Kent) Ltd access is by arrangement only.

Access to the theatre and 16a Hawley Square can be arranged by contacting:


Name: Steve Davis
Role: Managing Director, Your Leisure (Kent) Ltd
Tel: 01843-868302


The adjacent property 19 Hawley Square is current unused. Access to 19 Hawley Square is also by arrangement only.

Access can be arranged by contacting:


Kate Wilson, Community Regeneration Officer
Thanet District Council
Tel: 01843-577037


7.   Submitting Proposals

The council would be pleased to receive proposals from parties interested in acquiring a long lease or freehold interest in the theatre and 16a Hawley Square.

Before submitting proposals please ensure that you have read and considered the contents of all the documents listed in section 5 above. Your submission should include the following documents:

  1. Your completed questionnaire (document 2) signed by a duly authorised representative of your organisation.
  2. Indication of whether your proposal is inclusive or exclusive of 19 Hawley Square.
  3. The completed checklist of required documents included at the end of the questionnaire.
  4. Your business plan including operational details for the first 3 years and a long term vision and proposals.
  5. Your development appraisal, which must include details of the consideration offered for the estate and the length of any lease.
  6. Organisational chart and CVs of key personnel.
  7. Examples of similar undertakings elsewhere, together with references.
  8. Indicative programming information.
  9. Details of the information set out in section 2.4 of the due diligence protocol.


Proposals should be submitted electronically to The deadline for the receipt of completed submissions is 22 July 2016.


8.   Submission and Disposal Timetable


Activity Deadline
Estate advertised for disposal 27 May 2016
Dates for visiting the estate By arrangement
Submission deadline 22 July 2016
Submission evaluations 29 July 2016 – 5 August
Proposed completion of lease/freehold transfer 1 October 2016

 9   Evaluation 

It is the council’s intention to use this market engagement exercise to identify the most advantageous proposal for the future of the theatre. The council is also under an obligation to achieve best consideration when leasing or selling its assets.

The council will therefore take into account both the quality and viability of submitted proposals and the value offered for a leasehold or freehold interest.

Evaluation of submissions will be undertaken during the week of 25 to 29 July. It will involve an assessment of written submissions. This assessment will consider both the financial and quality elements of submissions. The council will formulate a shortlist of proposals following this assessment and will want to meet with shortlisted bidders during this week. These meetings will be held during the week of 1 August 2016.


10   Questions and Further Information

If you have any further questions about this process or require any additional information please contact either:

Kate Wilson,
Community Regeneration Officer
Thanet District Council
Tel: 01843-577037,



Bob Porter,
Head of Housing
Thanet District Council
Tel: 01843-577006,