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Building Project News: Your Theatre Needs You

As those of you who attended the AGM last night will know, late on Wednesday 18 May we received some very unwelcome news that has hit the progress of our rebuild.

When the building work was originally tendered all the prospective contractors came in above our budget. In February the Heritage Lottery Fund agreed to increase our grant, and our project team started to negotiate with William Anelay, the specialist builders who had come closest to that budget. These negotiations have taken months following the closure of our building, as it was necessary to “value engineer” – in other words, to find ways to get the cost of the rebuild down in line with the funds available to us.

The contract was due to be signed off imminently, and William Anelay had assured all concerned that they were still committed to the project. However, following an internal commercial review, on Wednesday 18 May they pulled out of the project. We are devastated by this news and have to take action quickly.

There are a number of options we could follow but the most practical looks to be approaching two of the other building companies who tendered for the work but were originally rejected on the basis of budget. If we’re successful in securing the services of another builder, what it does mean is that there will be a shortfall in funding. Our own localised efforts will barely make a dent, so we need to undertake a concerted fundraising push by approaching every suitable body or benefactor to secure contributions to the shortfall.

This would take months for one or two people – but if as a members’ community we each take one or two bodies to approach by phone, letter or email, then we can do this much more quickly. We appreciate that timing is often everything in applying for such awards, but we have no time to waste in doing so.

If you would like to be added to the fundraising task force team, please contact Caroline Beckett via email.

Information you need to approach funders will all be supplied in due course, and we’ll keep you posted. It should only take a couple of hours of your time, and the more people who get involved, the faster we can do this and the better our chances of getting this project back on its feet! Thank you.