Seafront theatre in limbo

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A NATIONAL theatre organisation has urged the Scarborough public to help the fight to save one of the towns most iconic buildings.

The Theatres Trust wants people to get behind the campaign to help save the historic Futurist Theatre after it was placed on the Trust’s 2011 “at risk” register.

The 2011 lists features 58 classic theatres from across the country that have been threatened by neglect, local development, funding cuts and closure.

Barrie Stead, who runs the venue, is hopeful that the benefits it brings to the area will persuade someone to come forward and save it. He said: “It’s undeniable that the theatre brings a great deal of income and pleasure to the town. It would be an absolute tragedy if nobody comes forward to help save it.

“Hopefully being on this years list will just remind people that there’s a real chance it could soon disappear.

“And without the Futurist, for those people who rely on it for their income, there may not be a future.”

Theatres placed on the list are given help and support by the trust. It also means the Trust can highlight the plight of theatres that aren’t already afforded statutory protection, such as being a listed building.

The news is a welcome relief for supporters of the theatre, who were left disheartened after the Futurist was denied listed building status last month.

Patricia David, who has been campaigning to save the 90-year-old building, is thrilled that the Theatre has made it on this year’s list.

“It’s brilliant to know that the Theatre Trust have kept the building on their list for another year. It helps spread the message that there’s a real risk of the Futurist closing unless help is found from somewhere, be it the council or a private investor.

“They are doing everything that can be done in order to help the council change their mind about the future of this wonderful building.”

Supporters are currently working on an appeal against the decision to refuse listed building status, after it took 14 months to make a decision on the initial application.

The Trust has added that this year’s register reflects the impact spending cuts have had, especially on the arts.