The late Peterborough entrepreneur Peter Boizot is to be honoured by the new operators of the city theatre that was so close to his heart.
Mr Boizot, who spent millions renovating the former cinema before opening it as The Broadway theatre 20 years ago, passed away in December aged 89.
Today Selladoor Venues, which runs what is now known as Peterborough New Theatre, revealed it is renaming the first floor Broadway Suite as the Boizot Lounge in memory of the city-born philanthropist who founded the Pizza Express chain in the 1960s, and in more recent years bought and sold Peterborough United and the Great Northern Hotel .
The newly renovated lounge will play host to a variety of events including stand up, jazz nights, interactive dining experiences and private parties.
Mr Boizot’s love for the building dates back to when he was a regular attendee of the Odeon Cinema as a child.
He seized the opportunity to purchase the ailing venue in 1996, spending over £9m to transform it into a multi-purpose theatre three years later, before selling it to Rinaldo Fasulo in 2004.
A Selladoor spokeswoman said the renaming of the lounge celebrated Mr Boizot’s invaluable contribution to the venue as well as to the city of Peterborough, to which he was an indefatigable benefactor.
Anna Marie Lambert, Director of Hospitality for Selladoor Venues, said: “We are thrilled to be able to honour Peter Boizot in this way, and say thank you for his investment in this elegant venue.
“We look forward to revitalising the Boizot Lounge and introducing exciting new events to the audiences of Peterborough.
“From family-friendly days to music nights, the Boizot Lounge will soon get a new lease of life.”
Mr Boizot’s sister Clementine Allen, added: “Peter would have been chuffed with the naming.
“He used to go Saturday mornings as a young lad to the Odeon, when the opportunity came to buy it he did so as a tribute to his childhood memories.
“I’m also excited that the theatre is under new operations. Peter would also have been delighted at seeing something he made as being brought to life again.”
Peterborough Jazz Club’s monthly shows take place in the Broadway Suite and its chairman Laurie Jacobs, who knew Mr Boizot for more than 30 years, said: “Peter was a great supporter and promoter of jazz for much of his life and the Peterborough Jazz Club originally held our concerts at the Great Northern Hotel, which Peter also revamped, and latterly at the Broadway Suite.
“So it will be a fitting tribute to a great man if his name lives on at the theatre as he should not be forgotten.”
Mr Fasulo, who still owns the building and leases it out, added: “What a fantastic gesture. I knew Peter for a long time and he was a great friend. It is a lovely tribute to him.”
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