'Now or never' for Empire Theatre

Burnley Empire Theatre. Photo: Mark Salmon.
Burnley Empire Theatre. Photo: Mark Salmon.

Burnley Empire Theatre backers are calling on the public to help keep the dream of resurrecting the once great venue alive.

The late-Victorian theatre in Cow Lane has risen to number five in the most recent Theatre Buildings at Risk Register with many now believing it is a case of “now or never” for the Grade II listed building.

Earlier this year Burnley Borough Council, the Burnley Empire Theatre Trust and The Theatres Trust announced they were working together to commission a viability study to establish whether it would be viable to develop the building.

After months of fund-raising and a successful Crowdfunder campaign the first phase of this study, which has cost £10,000 is now under way.

Part of the study is a survey to determine the extent to which volunteer support could operate and sustain the venue.

And Burnley Empire Theatre committee member Sophie Gibson said this is now the time for people to show how much the theatre would be valued.

“The theatre was at number 22 on the at risk list last year so the fact that it has risen to number five shows just how serious the situation is.

"This is why it is so important that as many people as possible complete the survey to voice an opinion and display interest of volunteering throughout the restoration and re-opening of the venue.

“This is the opportunity for businesses, the local community and region to stand up and say we can help make it happen. If the results of the first phase are positive this will lead onto the second phase.”

The second phase will cover the historical analysis of the building along with its current condition.

“It’s becoming a case of ‘now or never’. It’s gone up because it’s at high risk. The building is only going to get worse if something is not done.

“We know it is going to cost a lot of money but we are ready to fight for it.”

The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DSZYTT9. Deadline to complete the survey is September 30th.

An open meeting is being held by the Empire Theatre Trust on Wednesday, September 28th, upstairs in the The Inn On The Wharf. The meeting will start at 7-30 pm.