Search begins for new operator at Wellingborough’s Castle Theatre

The Castle Theatre.
The Castle Theatre.

A bidding process for potential new operators of Wellingborough’s Castle Theatre has opened.

Wellingborough Council took over the running of the Castle Theatre at the end of June 2016.

The venue was closed by the administrator, who was brought in by The Castle (Wellingborough) Ltd when it was experiencing financial difficulties.

Cllr Martin Griffiths, leader of the council, said: “Our theatre is an important part of the borough’s arts and culture strategy and we are very hopeful that we will attract a long-term operator for this well-loved facility.

“We want our theatre to be a professionally-run venue offering a varied programme that will appeal to residents as our borough continues to grow and prosper.”

The council re-opened the venue in August 2016, while plans for the long-term management of the theatre were formulated.

Following the decision to approve an arts and culture strategy in July 2017, the council decided to enter a two-stage restricted tender process in the hope of attracting an operator who could run the Castle Theatre as a successful business.

The council has been subsidising the operation of the theatre since it first opened in 1995, and the aim is to reduce that subsidy as far as is possible while still providing a venue which is accessible by the wider communities of the borough.

A panel of officers and councillors will evaluate the tenders and the deadline for submissions is February 27, 2018.

While the panel will review the submissions and agree a preferred bidder, the approval of full council will be needed to award the contract.

The council hopes that the new contract will be awarded at the end of July 2018 and will start from January 2019.

Once the operator is appointed, the council will put in place arrangements which will monitor the effectiveness of performance indicators included in the contract.

To view the contract notice, click {https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/1fe5e275-3835- 440d-9600- 8060d9ecbf6c|here|}.

For more details on the tender, contact Emma McGinlay on 01933 231585 or EMcGinlay@wellingborough.gov.uk.