The lease for the operation of the Futurist Theatre in Scarborough came to an end on Sunday and the theatre closed its doors after the final showing of the latest Hobbit film.
The date of the termination of the operator’s lease was agreed on 13 December by Cllr Tom Fox, Leader of Scarborough Borough Council, after all attempts to secure an alternative operator were exhausted and a proposal by the most recent operator to run the theatre during 2014 on a management fee basis was refused because Cllr Fox was not willing to place such a high level of financial risk on the council.
The theatre’s outgoing management team will spend some time this week removing their property from the theatre before they hand their keys to the theatre back to the council.
The council has already contracted security staff to patrol the outside of the theatre, which came into effect last night. The initial boarding up of the theatre will start today and continue throughout the rest of the week. At this stage however, the council has to be mindful that a three months window still exists for anyone to come forward with an alternative proposal to operate the theatre and so the boarding up methods used need to be easily removable should they need to be taken down before the spring.
Nick Edwards, Scarborough Borough Council’s Director of Business Support explained: “We are fully aware of the dominant location the Futurist theatre occupies on Scarborough seafront, and the importance of this area to our visitor economy. We are therefore conscious that whatever boarding up methods we choose, they have to be done tastefully and sensitively. Initially however, we need to balance that against what could possibly be a relative short term period of closure should an alternative operator come forward within the next three months.
“We are looking at temporary hoardings in the short term, with a view to more permanent ones later in the year should no other operators come forward. While our plans for the longer term hoardings have not being finalised, we will be considering methods that would allow us to display tasteful images or artwork in keeping with the area that would help to minimise the impact of the closed theatre on surrounding businesses.”