Legal fight underway to save Horncastle’s Red Lion Theatre

The Red Lion Theatre Company's sold out performance of Cinderella EMN-150126-162806001
The Red Lion Theatre Company's sold out performance of Cinderella EMN-150126-162806001

Officials at Horncastle’s under-threat Red Lion Theatre Company have taken legal advice in a bid to secure their future.

The theatre could effectively become homeless next month after the owners of the Red Lion - RBNB - gave the company notice to quit.

Company chairman Shirley Moffat said they had been overwhelmed by messages of support from the local community.

She told the News that initial legal advice had resulted in letters being sent to RBNB, which is planning to sell the entire Red Lion site at auction.

Mrs Moffat said she did not want to reveal any details at this stage but confirmed the theatre “hoped” to remain at the Red Lion, its home for the last 28 years.

She did admit, though, that the theatre could face difficulty funding a full-scale legal battle with RBNB, a South Yorkshire based brewery.

Mrs Moffat added: “We are hopeful. Letters have been sent but I don’t want to say anything at the moment.”

Horncastle’s County Councillor Bill Aron has handed the theatre a grant from his community fund.

There is every chance the town’s three district councillors - Fiona Martin, Sandra Campbell-Wardman and Richard Avison - could do the same.

Coun Aron said: “Mrs Moffit has contacted me to explain the position and their predicament.

“I have immediately offered a small grant from my councillor fund and offered any other help and assistance finding further grants should it come to a legal challenge.

“The theatre company are a credit to Horncastle and I hope that everyone will support them during this difficult time.”

Coun Campbell-Wardman, who is the town’s Mayor, described the theatre as a “jewel in Horncastle’s crown.”

She added: “There can’t be that many towns in the country with their own theatre company and we don’t want to lose ours.

“Your heart goes out to all those people who have put in so much hard work. They do a tremendous job. It’s the children - everyone. We’ve got to keep it open.”

Talks are also continuing about any additional protection offered after theatre was recently awarded Community Status by ELDC.

So, far RBNB have not made any comment.