Grant lifts threat of closure for Hastings theatre

Hastings’ Stables Theatre have been awarded a £5,000 grant from The Theatres Trust small grants programme towards their new fire alarm system after a threat of temporary closure.

Hastings’ Stables Theatre
Hastings’ Stables Theatre

Treasurer Henri Hayler said: “We have just had the hardest year in the arts and culture industry due to the pandemic and to be told that we would need to spend over £15,000 or face another temporary closure was a real blow to the hard-working volunteers and our loyal members and customers.

“We had already spent over £30,000 on the building whilst we were closed upgrading the theatre and the need to upgrade our fire alarm system came out of the blue. Given that our only income whilst we were closed was through the generosity of our membership, the small grants programme win was a massive shot in the arm for the theatre.”

Jon Morgan, director of Theatres Trust, said: “There will be tough times ahead for theatres following the worst year in living memory for the sector, so we are pleased to be able to support these treasured theatres to make positive changes that will help them thrive.”

Theatres Trust has awarded over £69,000 from its small grants programme, supported by The Linbury Trust, to 14 theatres across the UK to support them post-pandemic.

“The theatres will use the grants, which are from the first round of funding, to carry out small capital works to improve their accessibility, sustainability and viability, allowing them to welcome back audiences old and new after the devastating period of closure.”

It comes at a busy time for the venue, as chairman Neil Sellman explains.

“We have also been interviewed by and are now working with Professor Helen Nicholson and Cara Gray from Royal Holloway University on a year-long study into Researching Theatre in Towns and their role in the community.

“And finally after surveying volunteers and audience members we are relaxing two parts of our social distancing policy. Social distancing in the theatre will now be at one metre instead of two metres and although we are asking audience members to wear their masks when walking around the building they can be taken off when seated in the auditorium during a performance. We understand that mask wearing is not mandatory and that there are people who are exempt.

“Changes will take place for Prodigal Son, Tuesday, August 10–Saturday, August 14, 7.30pm, UK Tony Award winner John Patrick Shanley’s passionate play about an explosive young man on the verge of salvation or destruction.”

Directed by Jonny Magnanti, it comes with a cast including Jane Brooman, Bruno Magnanti, Neil Sellman and Doug Shaw.