The running of Peterborough’s former Broadway Theatre has been taken over by a global theatre company which is promising to bring the cream of the West End to the city.
Seven months after the Peterborough Telegraph revealed the theatre’s previous management team had run into major financial difficulties owing many thousands of pounds, the troubled venue is now being run by Selladoor Worldwide, which has renamed it the Peterborough New Theatre.
Selladoor is a producer of major theatre shows which tour both the UK and internationally, while it also owns three other theatres itself.
Its opening season in Peterborough will include two of Selladoor’s hit touring productions Avenue Q and Madagascar The Musical, alongside Adam Spiegel Productions’ The Mousetrap and Prime Pantomimes’ The Wizard of Oz, with further productions to be announced in due course.
David Hutchinson, CEO of Selladoor Worldwide, said he wanted to “build trust” after the theatre’s previous financial struggles.
He added: It’s clear that Peterborough deserves a number one venue for larger scale work. There is fantastic local support for this building and I am truly delighted to add the newly renamed Peterborough New Theatre to the Selladoor Venue portfolio.
“Our mission remains to produce and present quality diverse, daring and dynamic work. And our new Peterborough home will present so many opportunities to bring thrilling theatre and live events to the city.
“We have confidence that the Peterborough New Theatre can be a building of local and national importance.”
Ironically, the company’s interest in taking on the management of the theatre was sparked after its production of Avenue Q was cancelled due to the previous financial collapse.
Selladoor will offer to honour those tickets for customers who had previously booked to see Avenue Q, but were not given the opportunity to attend the show and did not receive a refund, during the week of September 24 to 28.
The theatre is currently owned by Rinaldo Fasulo and is leased to the Dawe Charitable Trust.
The new deal will see Selladoor take over the sub-lease from September.
As well as bringing over big productions the company is promising to revamp the theatre with an improved dining experience and creative use of the Broadway Suite, which will include speciality dining events and live music nights.
The theatre has had a troubled past, and last year the PT revealed that its then management company Performance Art Ventures C.I.C (PAV), led by Mark Ringer, had seen its sub-lease terminated after running into major financial difficulties.
PAV owed Peterborough City Council £68,000 in business rates, while promoters of shows which had taken place at the theatre claimed they had not been paid in full.
Customers who bought their tickets through the box office were also left out of pocket as shows were cancelled.
Peter Dawe from the Dawe Charitable Trust said: “Having Selladoor Worldwide, a professional theatre management company, take over the running of the Peterborough theatre is what my team has been working for since we took over.
“My team, especially Vijju Churchman and Tarba Gill, have worked tirelessly to make the theatre an attractive commercial proposition. The reward is that Peterborough, for the first time in decades, will enjoy top acts, performances and theatre on a regular basis. The Dawe Charitable Trust will continue to support the theatre in the years to come.”
Tom Stickland from the Theatres Trust said: “The [Peterborough New Theatre] is a venue with extraordinary potential. It has been on our Theatres at Risk register since 2016 when it was threatened with redevelopment into flats.
“Having campaigned to save the theatre building, Theatres Trust is delighted that it has now found an operator in Selladoor that can bring experience of theatre nationwide, to make sure that the people of Peterborough can enjoy quality large scale theatre and ensure the building continues to be protected.”
A detailed interview with Mr Hutchinson and Selladoor chief financial officer Phillip Rowntree will appear at www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk at noon.