Peterborough youth theatre group ‘devastated’ at planned closure of Key Theatre

The director of a Peterborough youth theatre group has said everyone associated with the group is ‘devastated’ by the planned closure of the Key Theatre.

Friday, 17th December 2021, 11:30 am
The Kindred Youth Theatre Company performing at the Peterborough City Council CivIc Awards ceremony this year EMN-210809-085921009

Paul Collings, director of Kindred Drama which runs the Key Youth Theatre. spoke out after Peterborough City Council made the announcement last night. The council say they need to close the venue to save money.

Paul said the group would be doing everything the could to keep running.

He said; “We are obviously devastated with the council’s decision, however we are massively heartened by the public’s reaction to it and hope that this outcry can either affect a change of heart or find someone willing to give this amazing building another chance.

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“There are too many young people whose lives have been made better by there experiences there and so many people who lives would be poorer if the building closes.

“We will be doing everything that we can.”

The Chalkboard Tearooms, which runs from the Key Theatre building, is another venue that could be impacted by the closure.

Andy Jones, one of the owners of the Chalkboard, said; “We’ve made it clear we want to stay, we can operate with the theatre closed until they find another owner or someone else to run it. We’ll be working closely with the council over the coming weeks to try and find a solution.”

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow said despite last night’s announcement, the theatre could have ‘a bright future.’ He said: “The Key Theatre is an iconic part of culture in our City. Like many others of similar age, I remember going to the Key as a child with my school, and going to seasonal shows like the pantomime.

“I am optimistic it can have a bright future - and I am aware the City Council is talking to partners who will help secure this. But because it is currently council owned, and is reliant on the taxpayer, they have to go through a formal process and consultation.

“This should not be seen as the end of the Key Theatre. Rather it could be start of a new beginning. I will do what I can to work with the Council and potential new partners to achieve this vision.”

Peterborough City Council said in the current financial year the Key Theatre is forecast to make a loss in the region of £300,000, with ticket sales hit by the pandemic.

It is proposed that the Key Theatre will close on Monday 17 January. People who have tickets for performances after this date will be issued a refund.

Deputy Leader of Peterborough City Council, Councillor Steve Allen, said: “This is not the kind of announcement that I or any of my colleagues want to be making, but it is essential that we make proposals such as this if we are to get the council’s finances on a more stable footing. We have said for some time that we face some difficult decisions on our road to achieving financial sustainability, however we will continue to look for ways to reopen these facilities as soon as possible. We are obtaining a commercial value for sale of the Key Theatre and are also in preliminary discussions with a number of interested parties.”

A petition has set up to save the theatre, and has already seen more than 3,000 people sign it.