Group aiming to make sure the show goes on

Spilsby Library.
Spilsby Library.

A group has been set up to help save Spilsby Theatre following news that the charity responsible for the venue is to disband.

Friends of the Sessions House has been formed to support a bid to take over the theatre from The Dandelion Trust.

Theatre volunteers met with representatives of The Dandelion Trust last month to discuss transferring the venue to community ownership.

The Surrey based charity, which has owned the theatre since 1989, is now planning to dispose of its assets.

The team of volunteers running the theatre are setting up a group, The Sessions House Project, to take over responsibility for the venue.

Volunteer manager Bruce Knight said: “The current trustees have agreed with my view that to save the building and help the venue’s future it should be governed and managed in a new way by people based locally.

“In the coming months we will need to present The Sessions House Project to the local community, the wider public and to funding bodies. It is going to be a challenging yet worthwhile venture.”

He added: “All those involved are now working together towards a transfer of ownership of the building that will be overseen by the Charities Commission. A meeting is being held in early May to decide the formal structure of The Sessions House Project as an organisation and open public meetings will follow.”

He said the former Georgian courthouse needs urgent repairs of around £2 million.

Ambitions for the venue include setting up an in-house theatre company and commissioning plays inspired by local events and history. The project also includes a plan to create a community garden.

Work is needed on the roof of the Grade II listed building and boilers need replacing.

It is likely the theatre would have to close for repairs, but it is hoped productions could be taken out into the community while the work is carried out.

Volunteer Cat Henton said: “We don’t want the theatre to close, and we intend to do all that we can to keep putting on events in some way throughout the whole process. We have made great progress in the last few months. To help keep Spilsby Theatre open and running local support is now more essential than ever before, so come and see a show.”

The Dandelion Trust issued the following statement: “The work of the theatre has proved very beneficial to the local community and the trustees are looking at options for ensuring that this can continue into the future after the charity has closed down.”