Extraordinary meeting to be held about Wellingborough’s Castle theatre

Last year's Christmas show at The Castle theatre
Last year's Christmas show at The Castle theatre

An extraordinary meeting about the process to find the right organisation to run The Castle theatre takes place next week.

Wellingborough Council took over the running of the theatre in June 2016 and they re-opened it to the public in August 2016.

Snow White on Ice at The Castle

Snow White on Ice at The Castle

The authority is now looking to agree the key criteria for the tender documentation so the tender process can move forward in time for a new contract to start in January 2019.

Councillors will discuss this and the council’s new arts and culture strategy for 2017 - 2020 at next week’s meeting.

A report prepared for councillors states: “It is clear that there has not been the level of maintenance expected, which has resulted in a need for both revenue and capital expenditure to bring the premises back up to a good standard.

“All health and safety issues have been addressed, and other repairs are being addressed via a schedule of works.

“Since a new operator may have a view on a number of the larger projects required (eg. recovering of seats) it is proposed that tenderers are also asked to set out how they will wish to approach this.

“Members are advised that - even if the operator wishes to invest in the building or facilities to some extent (which is not guaranteed) - significant council expenditure will be required to bring the facility up to an acceptable standard and to ensure that it is fit for purpose to enable the operator to manage it.”

Under the risk analysis section, the report says: “The primary risk is the failure to let the contract - as the operation of Castle Theatre has had a significant impact on the council’s financial and human resources since June 2016.”

Councillors will be asked to agree a number of items, including:

- approve the arts and culture strategy for 2017 - 2020

- delegate authority to the managing director in consultation with the council leader and leader of the opposition to agree the detailed criteria for the tender documents in relation to the operation of the theatre following discussion with the Castle Advisory Group and the senior management team

- approve the decision to use a restricted (two stage) process for the tender of the operation of the Castle Theatre

- approve the approach in relation to funding and building improvement, by including appropriate sections in the tender documents so operators may propose the most effective way of addressing this

The extraordinary meeting starts at 7pm on Tuesday, July 18, in the council chamber at Swanspool House in Wellingborough.

To read the report in full and see the arts and culture strategy, click here