The search to find a new operator for Wellingborough’s Castle theatre will get under way in the new year.
Members of Wellingborough Council met last week to discuss the future management and operation of The Castle theatre, which was closed by the administrators in June and then re-opened under temporary management by the council in August.
Councillors were asked to consider plans for the medium-term management of the theatre from January 2017 while new permanent arrangements are put in place.
They agreed to receive a report in the new year advising on the actions required to produce a cultural/arts strategy which supports a coherent approach to the support of community arts provision across the borough, determine the extent of funding of the arts in the borough and seek a trust, company or organisation to manage and operate the theatre.
An advisory group is to be set up and officers will be working with a theatre specialist to produce a brief and tender specification.
Council leader Martin Griffiths said: “For a long time the council has said that it wants the borough of Wellingborough to be a place to be proud of, and The Castle theatre is a fine demonstration of that.
“It is now a shining example of what the staff of the theatre and the people of the borough can achieve through sheer willpower in such a short space of time.
“We are enjoying a brilliant Christmas show, and are proud of our new brochure for a spring programme.
“At our council meeting we agreed to go out in the new year to find a new operator for The Castle theatre from 2018 onwards.
“We have learnt many lessons over the last year and we will be thinking carefully about what we want from our theatre after listening to everyone who has spoken up.
“We look forward to having a theatre we can be proud of for many years to come.”
The council is not able to award the contract until early 2018 because it has to comply with procurement legislation so the council will continue to run the theatre until then.
In a bid to promote the theatre and let more people know that it has re-opened, flood lighting has been installed to light up the theatre’s tower.
Cllr Griffths said: “Some people are still not aware that The Castle is open.
“It’s not costing an awful lot of money and I think it will help us with the publicity.”
Cllr Griffiths recently went to see Snow White on Ice at the theatre and said it was ‘really very good.’
And with a new programme in place for the whole of next year, the new year seems to be looking much more promising for the theatre after a difficult few months.