Young performers launch petition calling for Northamptonshire theatre to be saved

Young people who use a town theatre have gathered hundreds of names on a petition calling for the venue to be saved.

Thursday, 21st April 2016, 11:31 am
Updated Thursday, 21st April 2016, 1:00 pm
The Castle theatre in Wellingborough

The petition was launched by The Castle Youth Committee after The Castle (Wellingborough) Ltd, which runs the theatre on behalf of Wellingborough Council, was placed in administration.

The youngsters have said they want to raise awareness of ‘how great’ the theatre is and to let people know about the opportunities it has given to them as young performers.

These include members performing an original show at last year’s Edingburgh Fringe Festival and having the chance to complete Arts Awards and young leader qualifications while acting as youth assistants in classes with younger members.

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The online petition states: “The Castle Theatre Ltd has been taken into administration, meaning that all of the jobs it provides are at risk of being lost, and all shows/activities are at risk of ending.

“Anyone who has visited The Castle Theatre, particularly in recent years, will understand that it is not only a bustling hub of creativity, but a home to many.

“The staff are always welcoming - they chat to you kindly and never seem to stop smiling.

“The participants have built a family here, most have formed friends for life and to take that away from them would be awful.

“The theatre allows many local groups access to a stage, and it is one of the very few sources of entertainment (particularly for young people) in Wellingborough.

“To use other similar facilities would require travelling to another town and for many this is not possible, or at least not as simple as being able to walk into town.

“The Castle Theatre is incredibly important to our community.

“We cannot allow it to lose the amazing qualities which it currently possesses.”

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.

A statement issued by administrators PBC Business Recovery & Insolvency last week said all performances and other community activities will, as far as possible, continue to go ahead and staff and performers will be paid by the administrator through ticket sales and merchandise revenue.

Joint administrator Gary Pettit said they are working hard to find a solution so The Castle can remain a focus in Wellingborough and they are encouraging people to continue supporting the theatre.

To sign the petition, which has already gathered nearly 800 names, click here