A project to restore a village theatre has received a £5,000 boost.
A new kitchen and bar area is almost complete at The Robin Hood Theatre. Mr Keith Wilson, left, and Mr Nick Timms are busy at work. (080213JT4-22)
The Robin Hood Theatre Company has been given the money by The Theatres Trust small grants scheme towards the refurbishment of the theatre at Averham.
It is estimated the total cost of the refurbishment will be around £120,000, of which £31,750 has been raised so far.
The next stage is to install a new toilet block, which will cost around £16,000.
Mrs Val Wilson, the project’s business director and fundraiser, said the aim was then to refloor the hospitality areas so the theatre could open for events, which in turn would raise more money towards reopening the 150-seat auditorium.
“We would like to reopen for plays in 2014,” she said.
“In the past we have had one- night shows from professionals, as well as the amateur company and shows from colleges and schools.
“Touring professional companies still contact us all the time and ask when they can bring a show, so they have definitely stayed interested.”
The theatre closed in 2006 because it failed to meet fire safety standards. It was hit by flooding and thefts.
The amateur-run theatre company took it over in February, 2012.
The company is performing at other venues while the theatre remains closed.
Work done already includes the installation of a new bar and kitchen area, now nearly complete, the removal of flood damaged flooring and plastering and rewiring.
Among those who have contributed to the funds is Sir Ian McKellen, who responded to a request for help with a £1,000 contribution.
Mrs Wilson said: “He has a particular interest in reopening dark (closed) theatres and he sent us a cheque and a lovely letter of support.”
She has written to numerous other actors, some of whom performed at the theatre, to see if they can help. Dame Judi Dench is one of the stars she has contacted.
Newark companies that have helped are Homebase, Topps Tiles and Jackson Building Centres, which have provided heavily-discounted materials. Waitrose and Npower have given donations.
The Robin Hood Theatre Ladies’ Luncheon Club, which meets at Newark Showground, has raised £3,000.
Mrs Wilson has written to around 170 companies in the area to see if they can help.
The theatre originally opened in 1913 and became a public theatre in 1961.