Administrator working on refunds while council considers future of Wellingborough theatre

An administrator believes there could have been some hope for Wellingborough's Castle theatre, but ultimately they had to close it.

Tuesday, 28th June 2016, 7:05 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:42 pm
The Castle theatre in Wellingborough
The Castle theatre in Wellingborough

PBC Business Recovery and Insolvency confirmed last Thursday that The Castle (Wellingborough) Limited was to be placed into liquidation and all theatrical performances and activities would be cancelled with immediate effect.

Joint administrator Gary Pettit said telling the 31 staff members that they are being made redundant was the ‘worst part’ of his job.

Mr Pettit, who as an administrator has dealt with similar situations to this including at other theatres and football clubs, said: “I have to say this is probably one of the most complex ones I have dealt with.”

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He said they have received a lot of enquiries about refunds for tickets bought for future shows and this is something they are working on.

Mr Pettit said: “We want to get the refunds addressed so that’s what we are looking at in the next couple of days.”

The building has now been handed back to Wellingborough Council, and it is expected that the process of liquidation will happen over the next two weeks depending on court time.

A statement issued by the council last week said it is hoping to have the theatre re-open within a matter of weeks.

Even though the theatre doors have closed for now, Mr Pettit said Franks, the restaurant which trades from the theatre site, will remain open.

And while he has said he doesn’t anticipate any future theatrical activity for at least two years, he added: “I hope I am wrong, but I am just being realistic.”

The administrator added: “What we have to consider is we should have been looking at Christmas shows and preparing for that two weeks ago.

“There is a lead-up time for these shows and there’s going to be a massive knock-on for confidence in people going to the Wellingborough theatre.”

Since the administrators were brought in on April 13, there have been seven expressions of interest in the business and two further expressions of interest in the property for developmental purposes.

However, the administrators said they were unable to secure the council’s full commitment for future support for The Castle so they have been unable to do anything further.

Mr Pettit added: “We could have secured someone to buy this if it had not been for constitutional issues and legal issues.

“There could have been some hope, without doubt.”

But for now, Mr Pettit said the priority is to address the refunds.

He said: “The key thing we want to do is get the refunds back to people.

“There have been quite a few people coming forward, which I totally understand.”

All pre-booked tickets will be refunded in full, but anyone who has not heard from the administrators by July 8 can call PBC on 01604 212150.