Broadway Theatre placed on national at risk list

The Broadway Theatre EMN-160713-131008009
The Broadway Theatre EMN-160713-131008009

Broadway Theatre in Peterborough has been named as one of the most endangered venues in the country by The Theatres Trust.

Plans were recently revealed to turn the historic city centre venue into luxury flats.

The theatre has been largely unused since a fire broke out in the auditorium in 2009. It is one of 29 venues placed on the list in England, with seven others in Wales and Scotland. The Broadway is one of three in England to be added to the list this year.

A spokesman for the trust said: “New to the register in 2016 is the Broadway Theatre, Peterborough, currently under threat from redevelopment for residential use. It has one of the finest remaining interiors from the Odeon chain, having been converted to theatre use in 2001.”

The trust’s interim director, Rebecca Morland, has now called for groups to come forward to try and save the theatre.

She said: “Each theatre on the Register has an important place in its community. Our experience shows us that where campaign groups are in place, they can make a real difference to the future of these theatres.”

Theatres Trust Trustee, comedian Dara Ó Briain added: “As a touring standup comedian I have travelled up and down this country and worked in many of the theatres here and you have a unique and rich heritage of theatres that were built in the last 200 years. But we can’t take that for granted. Local community support is vital in breathing new life into theatres.

“If a theatre in your community was in danger of being lost forever would you help fight for it?

“There are 36 theatres all over the country on our Register at the moment. Please join the campaign to save them or make a donation.”

Other theatres on the list include the Hippodrome in Brighton, the Blackpool Winter Gardens and the Theatre Royal in Manchester.

For more information on Theatres at Risk 2016, or to join the campaign to protect theatres at risk please visit: www.theatrestrust.org.uk/theatre-buildings-at-risk

History of the Broadway Theatre:

The former Odeon cinema closed in 1991, following the arrival of the multi-screen Showcase at Boongate, and the building’s history has been somewhat chequered ever since.

Things looked up when it was bought in 1997 by Peterborough philanthropist Peter Boizot, who at the time owned the city’s Great Northern Hotel and Peterborough United Football Club. He spent a reputed £9 million returning the former cinema - where he had watched films as a young boy -into the 1,200 seat Broadway Theatre, which opened in 2001.

Three years later, however, he was forced to sell it on,with current owner Rinaldo Fasulo- a long-time player in the Peterborough night time entertainment scene, snapping it up. Big names such as Billy Connolly, Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle all played there but a disastrous fire in January 2009 meant the cancellation of shows and plunged Rinaldo’s 03 Leisure company into liquidation.

Two years later another ill-fated venture enjoyed a short tenure, which ended with the man at the helm, Paul Coxwell, already a convicted fraudster,being jailed,and ticket buyers once more out of pocket

In more recent times West End supremo Bill Kenwright staged highly successful 2013 and 2015 winter seasons.