‘SWAT team’ brought into troubled Broadway Theatre in Peterborough

A statement on the front of the theatre
A statement on the front of the theatre

A ‘SWAT team’ has been brought into the troubled Broadway Theatre to deal with its ongoing crisis.

As revealed by the Peterborough Telegraph last week the theatre in Broadway is struggling after its former management team - Performance Art Ventures C.I.C (PAV) - ran into financial difficulties.

The management of the building has been taken on by the Dawe Charitable Trust which is urgently trying to secure the theatre’s long-term future despite shows being cancelled and angry ticket holders not receiving refunds.

The trust leases the theatre from owner Rinaldo Fasulo and was sub-leasing the venue to PAV before it terminated the company’s contract.

At the time of having its sub-lease terminated PAV owed £68,000 to Peterborough City Council in business rates, while promoters alleged they were owed thousands of pounds.

There are no suggestions that the Dawe Charitable Trust owes any money.

The current financial problems are just the latest in a long list of difficulties for the theatre.

Trustee of the Dawe Charitable Trust Peter Dawe told the PT last Friday: “The Dawe Charitable Trust has had a busy week since it terminated the lease of the theatre to Performance Arts Ventures CIC.

“The first task was to put together a ‘SWAT’ team who could secure the theatre, deal with the immediate problems and investigate the situation.

“The SWAT team have had to rapidly learn the basics of running a theatre - which keys work which locks, where are the switches, how do you turn on the heating, who are the contractors for cleaning, stage technicians, equipment rental etc.

“The SWAT team have achieved amazing progress in just five days starting from zero on Monday morning.

“We know we can’t fully repair the damage two failed management teams have done to the reputation of the theatre. Our efforts are to minimise the impact and maximise the future.

“Over the next few weeks we hope to secure what acts we can, find more room and theatre hirings, and hopefully select and contract with a professional theatre management company to take the theatre forward.

“We will engage with partners in Peterborough such as the city council, Vivacity, arts groups, charities, volunteers and donors to make the theatre a valued and viable anchor to the arts and leisure sector of the city centre.”

Mr Dawe added that:

. The Dawe Charitable Trust has no liability for any of PAV’s debts or contracts and is actually the largest creditor.

. The SWAT team had to check insurances, health and safety policies and transfer licences and utilities including electricity and gas.

. Inventories of assets and stock needed to be created and ownership ascertained.

. Agreements were needed with Sundays restaurant and Kindred Drama to minimise disruption to their operations at the theatre.

. Policies for dealing with ticket holders, room hire, event managers, artists etc needed to be considered and agreed.

. Promoters and acts have been contacted to discuss what they want to do in the new circumstances. Some have immediately cancelled, some are happy to change their contract and others need time to consider.

. “Serious industry companies” have expressed an interest in taking on the management of the theatre. They believe it is financially viable and want to discuss the opportunity.