York & North Yorkshire

Scarborough Futurist theatre 'beyond point' of refurbishment

Futurist Theatre, Scarborough
Image caption The Futurist opened in 1921 and has hosted acts including the Beatles and Ken Dodd

Scarborough's Futurist theatre is "beyond the point" of refurbishment, according to a new report.

A consultancy firm commissioned by the council, said the 92-year-old venue needed "considerable investment", which the authority could not justify.

The theatre still stages concerts, shows and films, but is within an area earmarked for redevelopment.

Scarborough Borough Council currently pays the Futurist's operator an annual subsidy of £80,000.

Councillor David Chance, cabinet member for tourism and culture, said there were no plans to close the theatre as long as it had an operator, but its future depended on the council's proposals for the area.

"I don't want to close theatres, I am a theatre man so closing one is an anathema to me, but we've got to be realistic," he said.

The development brief for the area identifies the site as a potential tourism focal point for the South Bay foreshore, providing leisure and entertainment facilities.

'Become an eyesore'

Neil Price from the Scarborough Town Action Group, which has campaigned for the theatre to stay open, said its eventual closure seemed "inevitable".

"I think it will be a sad day for Scarborough because it's an important part of our heritage," he said.

"For many years now Scarborough Borough Council has spent very little maintaining the theatre and it's probably got to a point now where possibly millions will be needed to refurbish it - millions the council doesn't currently have.

"Our concern in the long term is that the Futurist will close, it will be boarded up for many years to come and it will become an eyesore."

In December 1963 the Beatles performed at The Futurist and other stars who have trodden the boards at the 2,000-seat theatre include Morecambe and Wise, Shirley Bassey and Ken Dodd.

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