UPDATE: Administrators confirm 31 redundancies with closure of Wellingborough theatre

The Castle theatre is to close
The Castle theatre is to close

Administrators have confirmed that The Castle theatre is closing with the loss of 31 jobs.

The joint administrators have just released a statement saying that The Castle (Wellingborough) Limited is to be placed into liquidation and all theatrical performances and activities are cancelled with immediate effect.

Joint administrator Gary Pettit said: “We have been in constant dialogue with the council, who have supported The Castle over the past few years, but sadly we have no option but to close the business down.

“There has been a lot of interest shown in taking the theatre forwards and non-disclosure agreements were issued to those parties, however there are some complex legal and constitutional issues that prevent us from following up this interest and we are unable to meet the statutory purposes of the administration.

“As a result, the company will be wound up by the court and the property will be handed back to Wellingborough Council.

“We will be reviewing all advanced bookings we received for future performances and we will be in contact with those people in due course.”

The administrators have tried to answer a number of questions people have been asking:

How many staff will this affect?

- Sadly, we are issuing redundancy notices to 31 staff members this afternoon. All salary payments are up to date.

Will all costs to performers/suppliers since your appointment be paid in full?

- All post-appointment costs will be paid in accordance with the insolvency rules regarding trade expenses.

What happens to costs from performers/suppliers prior to your appointment?

- Current indications are that we will not be able to make any payments to creditors for outstanding debts that arose prior to our appointment. However, the full position will be disclosed to these creditors within the liquidation process.

What does liquidation mean/what is the process now?

- The court will place the company into liquidation, meaning its affairs will be wound down. As the building is owned by Wellingborough Council, it will be secured and handed back to them to manage going forwards. All assets owned by the company will be sold and any funds generated will be distributed in accordance with the insolvency rules. As the company is placed into liquidation, there will also be a statutory investigation pursuant to the Company Directors’ Disqualification Act 1986 – this is a condition of liquidation and does not infer that there was any wrongdoing at this stage.

What is happening to the theatre?

- The building will be closed, secured and handed back to Wellingborough Council. It is entirely the council’s decision as to future use or development. In our personal view it is not viable to run this entity just as a theatre, it needs to be developed as a wider service. Therefore, we do not anticipate there will be any future theatrical activity for at least two years.

How many people expressed an interest in The Castle?

- There were seven expressions of interest in the business and two further expressions of interest in the property for developmental purposes. We have been unable to secure the council’s full commitment for future support for The Castle, therefore we are unable to do anything further.

What happens to people who pre-booked tickets for performances which are now cancelled?

- All pre-booked tickets will be refunded in full. We are in the process of contacting these people, but if they have not heard from us by Friday, July 8, then they should contact PBC on 01604 212150.