Mayor wants talks on Grand Theatre

Doncaster's Grand Theatre.
Doncaster's Grand Theatre.

ELECTED mayor Peter Davies has called for crunch talks with the owners of The Grand Theatre in a bid to secure its future.

Council officials were keeping an eye on the building’s condition, said Mr Davies who wants the Victorian venue to be available for the public again.

The announcement has come as a boost to the Friends of The Doncaster Grand Theatre group which has been battling to save its future for 15 years.

Mr Davies said: “The Grand Theatre is an iconic building and it has been left empty for too long.

“I want to see it brought back into a use that will benefit the people of Doncaster and am keen to speak to the owners about it.

“As the theatre is a listed building, Doncaster Council is continuing to ensure the owner keeps it watertight and secure. Works have previously occurred and I understand further works are ongoing to ensure it is kept satisfactorily maintained.

“Ultimately there is only so much the council can do - the onus is really on the owner to either do something with the building or find a new owner who can make a success of it.”

The building, originally built in 1882 as a circus hall after what was then Station Road, was widened to accommodate the wishes of Queen Victoria who was due to visit Doncaster.

It became The Grand Theatre in 1898, attracting big name performers including silent movie icon Charlie Chaplin.

By the 1960s it had been transformed into a bingo hall continuing until 1995 but then has not been used since.

Margaret Herbert, of The Friends of The Doncaster Grand Theatre, said: “The problem we have had is that we have been struggling to find out who the owners are. I think the mayor getting involved in this way will help considerably.”