Theatre group bids to takeover Doncaster Civic

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 Doncaster entertainer wants to take on the running of the town’s Civic Theatre, turning it into a social enterprise business.

However, his plans may be scuppered before they ever begin, by the venue’s owners, Doncaster Council, which has its own plans for the site.

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 Downs syndrome, is keen to take the venue over for the community.

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 told the Free Press: “We don’t want to lose our Doncaster assets, we’ve lost too many as it is.”

He said that 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 that 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.