‘It is all over’: Man who has kept Futurist Theatre going admits ‘I think this could be the end’

A packed Futurist when Peter Andre performed at the venue in November last year
A packed Futurist when Peter Andre performed at the venue in November last year

The operator of Scarborough’s Futurist Theatre this week spoke about its likely demise, saying: “I think this could be the end”.

Barrie Stead, who has packed the 2,000-seat venue with big acts, was speaking after a council meeting rejected any hope of saving it.

Going further than before, Mr Stead added: “At the end of the day, you can’t argue the fact that the council doesn’t have £3 million to spend on it.”

It could join the Floral Hall, the Royal Opera House, The Aquarium, Alexandra Music Hall, the Capitol Theatre and others as former venues.

Mr Stead, who runs the theatre on behalf of Scarborough Council, says he remains hopeful that someone might take on the Futurist but it is viewed by the council as just part of a huge redevelopment site, which stretches right up to the Town Hall.

His contract runs out on December 31. However, he says the current situation is making it difficult to attract shows.

He added: “Meanwhile, we’ve got a great programme at the moment and we’re very much open for business. The best way that people can support the theatre is to come down and buy a ticket.”

The council meeting last week featured a call-in by Cllr Janet Jefferson – essentially an 11th hour attempt to get cabinet to reconsider the theatre’s future – but the bid was rejected by six votes to two.

At the meeting, it was agreed that the theatre should remain open for the time being. The decision came in spite of a number of presentations including one from local-born actor Adam Flynn.

He suggested that with relatively straightforward alteration work to the access point for scenery and stage equipment, the theatre could attract major touring shows, such as The Lion King and Les Miserables.

He said: “A 21-week run of The Lion King in Manchester brought in £15 million.”

Cllr Jefferson, who called the item in for reconsideration, said: “The auditorium is OK – it’s the outer appearance of the building that needs attention. Things are not above being restored. I don’t think anything is an impossibility. To many it is a viable, 12-month venue and to get rid of it will have a knock-on effect on the economy.”

The council’s deputy chief executive Hilary Jones said that capital funds for redeveloping the theatre are simply not available.

The Spa and the Open Air Theatre would be expected to fill the entertainment gap.