Fears for future of Peterborough’s Broadway Theatre due to financial struggles

Peter Dawe of the Dawe Charitable Trust alongside Mark Ringer, CEO of Performance Art Ventures cic, when the deal to lease the Broadway Theatre was announced
Peter Dawe of the Dawe Charitable Trust alongside Mark Ringer, CEO of Performance Art Ventures cic, when the deal to lease the Broadway Theatre was announced

The future of the Broadway Theatre has been placed into doubt after once again being hit with financial problems.

Shows are set to be cancelled and the theatre is at risk of closing according to Peter Dawe, trustee of the Dawe Charitable Trust which is leasing the iconic venue from its owner Rinaldo Fasulo.

It is just the latest in a long line of problems to hit the iconic theatre in Broadway, but Mr Dawe is hopeful that a new strategy will turn around its fortunes.

The theatre was being managed by Mark Ringer under the company Performance Art Ventures C.I.C (PAV) which was sub-leasing the theatre from the Dawe Charitable Trust.

However, the sub-lease has now been ended and a new management company, which has vowed to keep the theatre running until at least 2020, has taken over.

Mr Dawe said: “Mark’s strategy of filling the venue with a big and diverse programme was not matched by sufficient audience to cover it.

“Within the business we could not see him turning it around so we reluctantly decided to terminate his management of the theatre.

“As of Monday the Dawe Charitable Trust will take possession of the lease. It will continue operating but as a venue for hire rather than as a place for promoting.

“What will be on there is programmes by third parties. We have an expectation that the pantomine will go ahead.

“What will happen in the future is we hope there will be a diverse number of people promoting things in the theatre over time. It’s agreed that Sundays will stay on and continue operating and that Kindred can stay on and operate.”

The Peterborough Telegraph has been contacted by two promoters of shows which have performed at the Broadway a few months ago who have alleged they had not been paid in full.

Mr Dawe said: “All the contractual relationships regarding the operation of the theatre is a matter of PAV. The Dawe Charitable Trust was just the landlord. We are just the largest creditor and we weren’t involved in the management.

“We rented the theatre then sub-let it to PAV.

“There are a lot of creditors and the charity (Dawe Charitable Trust) is the biggest creditor by far.”

Mr Dawe admitted “there’s a chance” that the theatre could close, but he’s hopeful of turning its fortunes around and eventually buying it from Mr Fasulo.

As first revealed by the Peterborough Telegraph, the businessman fronted the leasing of the venue a year ago alongside Mr Ringer, who had previously run the popular Willow Festival in Peterborough.

At the time the deal for the Broadway had scuppered plans, revealed by the PT, to convert the theatre into 50 luxury apartments.

Mr Dawe, who stood last year as a candidate to be Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, told the PT: “We anticipate the pantomine will go ahead. The other shows we don’t know. For the most part they will be cancelled.”

The PT asked Mr Dawe if people who have already bought tickets will get their money back.

He replied: “If they bought tickets through TicketSource.”

Asked about people who have bought tickets through a different way, he replied: “That’s a matter for PAV, the ticket holder.”

The PT spoke to Mr Ringer at the Broadway on Friday but he declined to respond directly to the points made by Mr Dawe.

However, a statement was released on the Broadway’s Facebook page this morning.

It read: “Performance Art Ventures cic, the operating company of The Broadway, will today (Monday 6/08/18) be handing the venue over to new management.

“Despite PAV’s best efforts, the company made a substantial loss over the past eight weeks and has not been able to meet it’s financial commitments to its landlords and has been forced to cease trading.

“A combination of low ticket sales, a heatwave, the holiday period and a two week outage of all internal comms due to a technical fault beyond our control all conspired to send the company into un-recoverable financial difficulty.

“The new management company have vowed to keep The Broadway operational until at least 2020 and hopefully a long time beyond. They have access to resources that PAV did not have and the future is looking bright for the theatre complex.

“We would like to thank everybody for their support since Performance Art Ventures saved The Broadway from being turned into flats. We wish the new management every success and hope the public will support them and the events they have coming up.

“At the time of writing no events have been cancelled, except for the film season, and PAV will inform the public of any changes in that respect within the next few days.

“Tickets will not be on sale for a few days either until PAV can compete the handover and decisions are finalised regarding current and new events. The Broadway will be closed for a few days also.

“Performance Art Ventures cic will undoubtedly be swamped with enquiries for the next few days also, so please bear with us regarding responses.

“For all future bookings of the theatre venue please contact the new management at Theatre@dawe.co.uk.

The new management will not be able to enter into any correspondence regarding PAV’s trading history, advertised events or bookings. For all enquiries regarding these please email events@broadwaypeterborough.co.uk.

“Thank you all.

“Performance Art Ventures cic.”

The new management team has not been revealed.

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