Theatre Trust reveal 'at risk register' 2021 with Blackpool historic venues Pavilion Theatre, Winter Gardens and North Pier Pavilion on the list

A number of historic venues of cultural and social importance, including Blackpool’s Pavilion Theatre and Horseshoe within the Winter Gardens, are in need of urgent revival – or could face being left empty or sold, according to new data released by The Theatre’s Trust.

By Nicola Jaques
Thursday, 28th January 2021, 2:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th January 2021, 7:34 pm
The Pavilion Theatre, Blackpool in its heyday
The Pavilion Theatre, Blackpool in its heyday

The Pavilion Theatre is the oldest venue in the Church Street Grade II-listed complex and part of the original 1878 build by Thomas Mitchell.

Whilst largely shut for 10 months, the site is currently back in action, opening as a mass vaccine centre for the roll-out of the national Covid vaccination effort.

The Pavilion has run as an entertainments hub and event space for more than 140 years, through performances to exhibitions and festivals, catering for audiences

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The Pavilion Theatre venue as it is now inside the Winter Gardens and which last year hosted the touring Jorvik Viking exhibition.

of up to 900 people.

The Trust, the national advisory body for theatres up and down the land and which champions the importance and future of live performance through the protection of buildings, has released its 2021 ‘at risk’ register.

The resort’s North Pier Pavilion has also been included in the list as a venue considered as a valuable asset to its community.

But bosses for Blackpool Entertainment Company, which runs the Winter Gardens, said the venue remained an 'integral space' within the Winter Gardens.

The Pavilion Theatre in Winter Gardens now hosts a programme of exhibition and festival events through the year, most recently the JORVIK Viking Centre in York who presented their touring exhibition 'Fearsome Craftsmen' in Blackpool

A spokesperson said: "The Pavilion Theatre is an integral space at the venue, it supports existing events and continues to hold a diverse programme of content each year including the JORVIK exhibition that ran during the Autumn last year.

"As a venue we continue to work closely with Blackpool Council and key partners to ensure the continued use, protection and longevity of the venue."

In a statement, the trust said that, while the uncertainty owing to the pandemic has had a “devastating” impact on the UK theatre industry, “relatively few theatre operators have ceased trading and fortunately none of the buildings left empty look to be in imminent danger.”

Some 21 theatres have been unveiled on the register, highlighting venues that are in need of refurbishment but could be of greater value to communities if they are given more support.

Other county venues include the Victoria Pavilion/Winter Gardens in Morecambe and the Burnley Empire.

Bosses at the trust have said they hope to look to “constructive collaboration with all owners to secure a positive future for these important theatres”.

Director Jon Morgan added: “This past year has shown that communities value places where they can come together and that audiences miss live performances.

“While the theatre sector still has challenging days ahead, Theatres Trust believes that theatre will come back stronger than ever and that each building on the Theatres at Risk list has real potential to be a valuable asset to its community, to bring much needed footfall to its town centre and spark regeneration of its area as part of the recovery post-Covid.”

The theatres appearing on the 2021 register are as follows:

Brighton Hippodrome

Theatre Royal Margate

Victoria Pavilion/Winter Gardens, Morecambe

Dudley Hippodrome

Victoria Theatre, Salford

Spilsby Theatre

Streatham Hill Theatre, London

Groundlings Theatre, Portsea

Theatr Ardudwy, Harlech

Winter Gardens Pavilion, Blackpool

Burnley Empire

Plymouth Palace

Hulme Hippodrome

Century Theatre, Coalville

Walthamstow Granada, London

Leith Theatre

King's Theatre, Dundee

Tottenham Palace Theatre, London

Conwy Civic Hall

Mechanics' Institute, Swindon

Intimate Theatre, London

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Kings Theatre, Kirkcaldy

Tameside Hippodrome, Ashton-under-Lyne

North Pier Pavilion, Blackpool

Garston Empire, Liverpool

Doncaster Grand

Swansea Palace

Derby Hippodrome

Theatre Royal, Hyde

Theatre Royal, Manchester