As some of you will have seen we purchased the Royal Court Theatre at auction in May this year. We have been approached many times over the last few years about opening a theatre in Wigan, we knew it was something Wigan needed and it was something we felt passionate about. Wigan does of course have Wigan Little Theatre which is run by a very successful amateur dramatic society. They really do a great job. However, further to this, we know that Wigan needs a stage for people to develop work and a platform for up and coming talent to perform as well as a stop-off for established national acts. We did build our own intimate theatre within one of the former court rooms on site at The Old Courts but we knew Wigan needed a big theatre and we were determined to try and give it one.
In 2017, we saw ‘The Hub’ had gone up for sale. We arranged a visit with the estate agents and we fell in love. We saw the opportunity to start the regeneration of the embarrassing dive which is King Street and we wanted it even more. The plan was to obtain funding to buy the beautiful building but as the months passed, we heard that the property was going to auction so we felt we had no option but to try our best to secure it. I’m not going to lie, it was an extremely nerve wracking time for us because we believed this was the perfect opportunity to give Wigan a large scale flexible theatre but to our terror, property developers were in attendance bidding against us. Luckily, their interest turned to other properties and the rest as they say is history.
Fast forward to now and we are itching to begin the refurbishment. As you will see in the pictures, many original features remain including 246 seats. However, despite this major first step, we now need to secure large sums of money to begin the work proper and to deliver what we feel the town deserves. As we speak, we have a team of consultants working to source funds on our behalf as well as staff out and about seeking corporate sponsorship. We’re confident the funds will be on their way soon but for now we have to be a little bit patient and keep going behind the scenes.
Over the past few months we’ve heard many wonderful stories and memories from Wiganers and we want to hear more! We’ve set up a guest book page on this website so please feel free to add your contribution. We’ve also been inundated with offers of help which has been amazing. As soon as we have some lighting on in the building (yes really!) we will be calling on each and every one of them. I’d like to just take this opportunity to say again that this showing of support has genuinely warmed our hearts. In fact, a few tears were shed reading the messages of support when we initially posted about the purchase. We read every single post – almost 4000 of them. So, please, if you want to help and be part of this, please leave us a message or a story or please get in touch for volunteering opportunities or please just tell someone about the project and please follow our journey. We want you to be part of this, we are doing this for Wigan, it belongs to Wigan!
I hope to give you an update soon including a date for public tours which will of course be done before and after the refurbishment.