Tender process starts to find new operator for Wellingborough theatre

The Castle theatre in Wellingborough
The Castle theatre in Wellingborough

A formal tendering process to find a new management company to operate The Castle theatre is set to begin.

It comes after approval of an arts and culture strategy and tendering documents at an extraordinary meeting of Wellingborough Council yesterday (Tuesday).

The decision to agree the strategy, which forms the basis of the two-stage restricted tender process, means tender documentation will now be finalised and advertised.

It is anticipated that the new management contract will start in January 2019, with the borough council continuing to run the theatre until that time.

Wellingborough Council took over the running of the theatre at the end of June 2016, after the previous management company, The Castle (Wellingborough) Ltd, experienced financial difficulties and brought in administrators.

Following a brief period of closure, the council re-opened the venue in August 2016 and set up the Castle Advisory Group, who considered customer feedback and worked with industry experts and the Friends of Castle Theatre to produce the arts and culture strategy, which informs the long-term management of the theatre.

Council leader Cllr Martin Griffiths said: “The Castle is recognised nationally and internationally as a multifunctional venue for a variety of events and we are delighted to be making solid progress with the tender process and strategy, which will be the backbone of the theatre moving forward.

“We are now able to build on Wellingborough’s biggest cultural asset, improve opportunities for young people and help provide certainty to the many groups who use this wonderful venue.

“We always intended to keep the theatre open and made it clear that we would seek the best possible partner to run it successfully and continue to provide a performing arts facility for local people.”