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Inside Doncaster Grand Theatre from the Dress Circle over looking the stage

Friends receive £6.5k grant for digitisation

Submitted by Daniel on 14 April 2023

The Friends of Doncaster Grand Theatre have been awarded £6500 as part of a project to help remember the Grand Theatre as a working theatre.

The aim of the project will see individuals record their memories of the theatre, whilst separately, appropriate work will be done to digitalise many of the old artefacts and memorabilia associated with the Grade II listed building.

Doncaster Grand Theatre was just one of seven theatres to receive funding though the first round of the Resilient Theatres: Resilient Communities Grants Programme, a funding programme run by the Theatres Trust, the national advisory body for theatres, set up to help progress the restoration, reopening or revitalisation of At Risk Theatres.

The Resilient Theatres: Resilient Communities programme is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Pilgrim Trust and Swire Charitable Trust.

Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet member for Public Health, Leisure, Culture and Planning, said: “It is testament to the hard work of those both involved in the process of the bid, and those working to remember the theatre, that this funding has been successful at this stage. My congratulations go to everyone involved and I look forward to seeing all the artefacts and memorabilia brought to life on the many digital platforms available.”

Ken Waight, Chair of the Friends of Doncaster Grand Theatre said: “This is excellent news for all those involved in helping to preserve the Grand, for the coming years. We have many artefacts, including programmes and posters from past productions, even a document relating to the theatre’s construction in 1899 and their digitisation will ensure they can be made more widely available for viewing in the community. Recording individuals’ memories of what the theatre was like in its prime will also be an essential part of taking the theatre forward.”

Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan said: “We believe every theatre on our Theatres at Risk list has the potential to be returned for use by their communities, providing performance venues of types currently lacking in their local areas and bringing much needed footfall to town centres. Theatres Trust is delighted to support Doncaster Grand Theatre with this project that will help it move a step closer to its ultimate goal.”

Listed as a Grade II listed building since 1995, The Grand ceased to be a working theatre around 1960 when it was turned into a bingo hall. This later use ceased in the 1990s and it has been vacant ever since. Most recently, a working group – containing the Frenchgate Centre, Friends and City of Doncaster Council among others – has been set up to seek a viable use for the theatre.