Theatre boss warns that 140-year-old venue in Leeds could be turned into flats after missing out on government recovery fund
A 140-year-old theatre venue in Yeadon could end up closing down and being turned into flats after missing out on a government bail out fund.
The stark warning was delivered by Jamie Hudson, CEO of Yeadon Town Hall, after he discovered today that the 550 seat venue’s application for £120,000 from the £1.6bn Culture Recovery Fund had been unsuccessful.
He now fears that "unless a miracle happens in the next two months" Yeadon Town Hall will be forced to close - and already all but two members of staff have been made redundant.
It comes after £2m was raised via a community interest company last year in order to purchase and restore the building in the heart of Yeadon and work is still on-going.
He said it was “really frustrating” to miss out on an amount that was not “much at all in the grand scheme of things”, and speculated that there could be questions asked about how the money has been distributed.
“You might have a sound and lighting company down the road that’s got £100,000, that’s privately owned, but they’ve got nowhere to take their lights because the local venue has had to close down,” he said.
The theatre hosts touring professional productions as well as staging its own local amateur shows. In addition it is a community hub and has a pre-school as well as community activities and groups operating from there.
Mr Hudson said: "The thing that amazes me is we’re not only a theatre, we’re effectively a community centre as well. We’ve got pre-school and a lot of community activities that take place, the building’s dual purpose. Obviously if the theatre closes then the whole operation shuts.”
Should that happen, Mr Hudson warned that it was very unlikely the theatre would continue to be a cultural venue in the future.
He added: “It’s very unlikely that would ever be returned back to a cultural venue. Unless there’s some kind of urgent action in the next two months, venues will simply close, and those that didn’t receive the funding will simply disappear.”
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