Show goes on as theatre submits bid for building

The Lion Theatre, built by Eric Benson EMN-140707-155121001
The Lion Theatre, built by Eric Benson EMN-140707-155121001

Horncastle’s Lion Theatre Company has submitted an official offer to purchase their premises which are under threat from a proposed sell off.

The theatre is based at the Red Lion which is owned by a South Yorkshire based brewery, RBNB.

The brewery announced in January that it planned to sell the entire site, including the theatre building.

That threw the future of the theatre into doubt.

However, theatre company spokesman and town councillor Brian Burbidge confirmed the offer had been submitted.

But speaking at last week’s meeting of the Town Council, Coun Burbidge admitted the future of the theatre was still in doubt.

And, he appealed for anyone with experience of applying for grants funding to come forward and help.

The latest development comes just weeks after the News revealed a mystery buyer had indicated they were interested in purchasing the entire site.

It’s understood the person has held talks with East Lindsey District Council - and with the theatre - but has asked to remain anonymous.

Coun Burbidge said: “We (the theatre company) have not held any further communication with the person so we don’t know what is happening.

“However, I can confirm we have put in an offer ourselves for the theatre building, but we need to back that up with funding.

“If there is anyone with knowledge of how to apply for grants - or someone with a few thousand pounds handy - we would love to hear from them.”

The company has been based at the Red Lion for almost 30 years but never had an official lease.

Ironically, news of the planned sale came just days after the theatre became one of the first buildings in the area to be awarded protected community status by ELDC.

That delivered a lifeline until at least July, but Coun Burbidge admitted the future of the building was in doubt beyond that date.

Coun Burbidge admitted it was difficult communicating with RBNB and added: “We are doing everything we can to ensure the long-term survival of the theatre.”

RBNB has yet to comment, although a recent deadline for an auction to sell the Red Lion site has passed.

The theatre company, which is a charity, has previously indicated it could launch a public appeal for money.

In the meantime, the show goes on with an Upstagers production of ‘Room 13’ due to open tomorrow (Thursday).