Top fashion designer Wayne Hemingway backs Burnley's Empire Theatre
The newly bought former Burnley Empire Theatre has a new high-profile supporter waiting in the wings in the form of top fashion designer Wayne Hemingway.
Mr Hemingway, whose wife Gerardine comes from Padiham, will hope to add his expert advice to the Burnley Empire Theatre Trust, which bought the Grade II listed building for £1 earlier this month, and hopes to breathe new life into the dilapidated historic theatre.
The Blackburn-born respected co-founder of fashion label Red or Dead is the latest 'big name' to lend support to the cause, following in the footsteps of the Theatres Trust, National Trust and historic theatre experts.
Mr Hemingway said: "We are supporting The Empire campaign and helping them get the support of influential people who can help these great young people achieve something."
Theatres Trust, along with other interested parties, will continue to help Burnley Empire Limited to realise its ambitions for the theatre. The next steps are to carry out a full condition survey and fund-raise for any immediate repair works and the longer-term restoration project.
The restoration project will take an incremental approach focusing on making the building wind and water-tight and working towards a longer-term ambition to restore and reopen the building for the benefit of the local community.
Sophie Gibson, director at BETT, said: "We are delighted to announce the support of British designer Wayne Hemingway MBE.
"After years and months of negotiation with the previous owner, we knew that the only way to move forward with progress was to take ownership.
"The leap of faith was made possible thanks to the generosity from an anonymous donor, the continued support from Theatres Trust, National Trust, David Wilmore (at historic theatre consultancy #Theatresearch) and the commercial team at Napthens LLP who assisted with the purchase.
"We are also very please to have the backing of Burnley Council, and in-kind offers from local businesses.
"We have always been very keen to champion the invaluable support of our followers and well wishes. Without this support we would not have been in a position to consider taking ownership which is our biggest step yet.
"As 2018 is nearly at an end we kindly ask all those who are as eager as ourselves, to bear with us and enjoy the festive period as we plan to announce upcoming events early next year and announce ways that you can help.
"We now look forward to making new milestones for 2019."