The joint administrator of Wellingborough’s Castle Theatre says there have been three “very serious” expressions of interest in taking over the struggling venue.
At at public meeting at a packed Glamis Hall last night (Thursday), Gary Pettit was quizzed by residents and theatregoers concerned about the theatre’s future.
He said there has been a number of parties interested in taking over – but was unable to guarantee its long-term future.
He said: “Administration is something a lot of people relate to football clubs and it creates a protective shield.
“What we are focusing on is saving the business as a whole.
“If we do not save it it will close and it will take six to 12 months to resurrect the building.
“There have been eight expressions of interest in taking over, three of which are very serious.
“There are areas that are essential at the minute, and one is the support of the community.
“At the minute we are just trying to steady the ship and we have written to 261 creditors so far, we are hoping administration will only be a short-term thing.”
The operators of The Castle theatre were placed into administration following the loss of its contract with Wellingborough Council.
The council terminated its contract with six months’ notice last month after uncovering the state of the charity’s finances, including a £500,000 pension black hole.
Asked about the future of shows at the theatre, Mr Pettit said: “The simple answer is that we hope to be carrying on.
“I looked at the theatre’s accounts and they are not good.
“We have to look at cutting costs where we can.
“If I am coming back asking for money it is not viable.
“Those who perform after April 13 will be paid their costs.”
Among those to voice her concerns was Marion Turner-Hawes, who ran for Parliament as a Green Party representative last year.
She said: “The Castle has a 10-year contract with the council which started in 2011.
“When people started looking at finances of the theatre alarms bells started ringing.
“The last thing any of us expected the council to do was to end the contract with six months’ notice but the finances are dire.”
Those with concerns were urged to put forward any ideas they had for securing the future of the venue.
Speaking at the meeting, founder friend of The Castle Mike Thomas said: “It is possible to fill The Castle but there are great holes in what it is used for.
“Could there be more matinees? There is a large population of people from the Indian sub-continent and eastern Europe, could there be more at the theatre for them?
“We have got to try and reach out if we are fill its potential.”
Young performers have set up a petition to save the theatre.
To sign the petition, click here.