Southborough's Royal Victoria Hall theatre facing closure

A campaign is under way to save a small local theatre in west Kent which is facing closure due to lack of bookings.

The Royal Victoria Hall in Southborough loses more than £50,000 a year. The town council meets the shortfall but says it must be significantly reduced.

The theatre was built to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and opened to the public in 1900.

Kat Reece, of the amateur dramatic group which uses the theatre, said it was a massive part of the community.

"I can't put into words how much the building itself and the local community have supported us over the years," she said.

"We've had our own difficulties ourselves but thanks to the community we've managed to bounce back on many occasions and without the venue itself it would be very difficult indeed."

'Invaluable theatre'

Campaigners trying to save the theatre have said it is ironic that it is facing closure in the year of the current Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Mhora Samuel, director of the Theatres Trust, said small theatres like the Royal Victoria Hall were invaluable and it was time to look at new ways of keeping them running to ensure their future.

"One of the things that the town council is doing and looking at very seriously is establishing a trust to see if it could take forward the operation and running of the hall in a different way.

"I think there's a lot of theatres around the country now looking at that as a possible option."

Southborough Town Council is holding its annual meeting at the Royal Victoria Hall from 19:00 BST where the future of the theatre will be discussed.

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