Two petitions started in bid to save Peterborough’s Key Theatre in just a few hours

More than 2,500 people have signed a petition to save Peterborough’s Key Theatre, just a few hours after Peterborough City Council said it would be closing.

By Stephen Briggs
Friday, 17th December 2021, 10:29 am
The Key Theatre which is to close on January 17.
The Key Theatre which is to close on January 17.

The council announced the popular riverside theatre would be closing last night in a bid to save the cash strapped authority money.

But now 2,691 people (as of 9am on Friday) have signed an online petition to try and keep the venue alive.

The petition was started by Gavin Ashley Cooper, who said: “This petition calls on PCC to keep the theatre open and immediately look at how the building is managed (currently by City Culture Peterborough) and to speak to interested parties and theatre users to assess how the building could be better used, make more money, and truly be a local venue for arts.

“At present, the Theatre is presided over by an umbrella company who manage the goings on from afar and who have little or no experience in running a theatre venue - the so-called City ‘Culture’. This umbrella organisation should be encouraging culture, not supporting the closure of one of the nicest theatres in the region, let alone the city.

“Further, there are many arts organisations and interested bodies who call the Key Theatre, home. None of them were consulted about the closure (they all found out an hour before the press release went live). The Council must engage with these groups who all have so much to offer and to invest time and energy into listening to what these groups have to say.

“Please do sign this and lets keep the Key Theatre open.”

A second petition has also been started, as Peterborough City Council need people who sign petitions to confirm they either live, work or study in the city for a petition to be accepted.

The second petition reads: “We the undersigned petition the council to Keep the Key Theatre open as a place of important arts and culture in the City and to engage with those who use the building before making the disastrous decision to close it.

“The Key Theatre is an important building that has been at the heart of arts in this city for fifty years.

“It needs the support and engagement from the council to seek ways that it can continue to be a valuable and financially viable asset to this city. Those of us who are users and interested parties see so much potential that is largely ignored or dismissed.

“Closing the building would be a sad indictment of this council’s lack of support for the arts and culture in a city where this should thrive.”

On the first petition, Victoria Axe said: “Peterborough needs more places of culture, not less.”

And Hazel Wildash added: “The Key theatre is such an important venue for Peterborough. It would be a major set back for the people who live here if it was to close. Please sign and share this petition widely.”

Susan Racher said: “Please weigh up the mental well-being of the younger generation before putting money first.”

The plan to shut the Key Theatre was announced alongside plans to end public access to the Werrington Leisure Centre.

As a result, 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.

Public access to Werrington Leisure Centre will cease from 1 January. Access to outdoor sports pitches will remain.

These decisions are expected to save the council £150,000 in the first six months of 2022 alone.