Doncaster stage group in bid for theatre

Andy and Helen Evans are hoping to take over the Civic Theatre on a community basis. Picture: Marie Caley D5416MC
Andy and Helen Evans are hoping to take over the Civic Theatre on a community basis. Picture: Marie Caley D5416MC
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A stage group wants to keep Doncaster Civic Theatre running, turning it into a social enterprise business.

Andrew Evans, who manages Doncaster’s Black Cat Community Theatre group, which puts on performances involving people with special needs including those with mental health problems, autism and Down’s Syndrome, is keen to take over the venue for the community.

He is concerned his group will not be able to afford the new town venue, Cast. His group is well known for its panto performances, including tackling Mother Goose, Dick Whittington and Aladdin, but also last year produced the self-written spy spoof Dick Macey and has been involved in performances at Doncaster Pride and other community events.

Andrew said: “We don’t want to lose our Doncaster assets, we’ve lost too many as it is.”

He said he was offering to take on the running of the Civic Theatre on a voluntary basis, and work with people from other theatre groups in the borough to restore the theatre to its former glory.

He also felt that, by coming together, these groups could use the arts to help tackle social issues through projects such as workshops and using the positive aspects of diversity the arts can offer.

Mr Evans says his group could not afford to access Cast, the town’s new £20 million theatre.

He added: “The quotes we’ve had have been in the region of £10,000 for a one-week performance. We just can’t afford that and nor can many of the other amateur theatre groups in Doncaster.”

A Doncaster Council spokesman said the authority’s plans for the Civic Theatre did not include its continued use as a performance venue, and suggested the Black Cat group look at using Cast as an alternative.