Small theatre may be redeveloped

ONE of Britain's most respected small theatres could close and be redeveloped if nobody is prepared to take it over.Eye Theatre, which was founded in 1991, has been put on the market with a price tag of £345,000.

ONE of Britain's most respected small theatres could close and be redeveloped if nobody is prepared to take it over.

Eye Theatre, which was founded in 1991, has been put on the market with a price tag of £345,000.

Its founder, owner and artistic director Tom Scott is hoping to sell the 85-seat professional theatre as a going concern.

But, if no-one is willing to take it on, he is prepared to see it redeveloped.

The theatre is housed in the elegant Georgian assembly rooms of the former White Lion coaching inn.

It has hosted nearly 150 in-house productions and more than 40 visiting shows. Drama classes are held there and it also has a youth theatre.

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John Clark, land manager for Abbotts estate agents, said the property presented unique opportunities to prospective new owners.

“It is certainly very rare for a property like this to come on the market. It is an established professional theatre and it is a great credit to Tom Scott,” he said

“He would positively love it to continue as a theatre but if there is no-one to jump into his shoes to run it as a theatre, there are other alternatives, such as redevelopment.”

Mr Clark said there would be scope to operate the theatre and redevelop other buildings on the site, in Broad Street.

“There are sections of the building which are currently unused and could be redeveloped without affecting the business of the theatre or could be put to other valuable use, such as a wine bar or rented or commercial accommodation,” he said.

“I would suggest that for £345,000, which would buy a fairly ordinary house these days, this is a very good opportunity.”

Mr Clark said the site, if redeveloped, could be converted into several residential units, subject to planning permission.

The sale includes most of the theatre's contents, including light and sound equipment, and the new owner would also have the opportunity to work with the registered charity which runs the theatre.

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