VIDEO: Doncaster theatre on list of Britain's most at risk venues

The Grand Theatre in Doncaster.
The Grand Theatre in Doncaster.

Doncaster's crumbling Grand Theatre has been named as one of the most at risk venues in Britain.

The theatre, adjoining the Frenchgate Centre and which has been closed and decaying for more than two decades, is one of 36 venues nationwide on the Theatres Trust at risk register - which has warned that the building and others like it need to be saved.

Trustee and television comic Dara Ó Briain is now calling on everyone who cares about the theatre and others on the list to join the campaign to protect them.

Ó Briain, has lent his support to raise awareness of the campaign by fronting a video introducing some of the excellent work done by community groups around the country, many of whom have submitted video reports highlighting their work protecting the theatres they love, including Doncaster's Friends of the Grand Theatre group.

He said: "As a touring standup comedian I have travelled up and down this country and worked in many of the theatres here and you have a unique and rich heritage of theatres that were built in the last 200 years.

"But we can’t take that for granted. Local community support is vital in breathing new life into theatres.

"If a theatre in your community was in danger of being lost forever would you help fight for it? There are 36 theatres all over the country on our register at the moment. Please join the campaign to save them or make a donation."

Rebecca Morland, Interim Director of Theatres Trust, said: “Each theatre on the Register has an important place in its community.

"Our experience shows us that where campaign groups are in place, they can make a real difference to the future of these theatres.

The number one theatre on the At Risk Register for the last four years has been Brighton Hippodrome. The Grand, a Grade II listed building was ranked 23rd, down from its 2015 listing of 19th.

The Grand, originally built in 1899, has now stood empty and derelict since its closure in 1995 and is sandwiched on prime land between the transport interchange, the Frenchgate Centre and Sainsbury’s supermarket.
It was last used as a theatre in 1958, being used as a bingo hall up until its closure.

More than 60,000 angry protesters and a host of celebrities backed a campaign to save the venue from demolition, and because of its listed status the building is protected, but has now stood untouched for 20 years.

Since the Grand’s closure, the town’s new performance venue, Cast, which replaced the Civic Theatre, has become the town centre’s main entertainment venue