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Colin Hogg and Margaret Herbert in front of Doncaster Grand Theatre

Join the campaign to reopen Doncaster Grand Theatre

Submitted by trustadmin on 22 January 2024

Prior to the opening of the Arndale Centre in Doncaster (since renamed Frenchgate Shopping Centre) in 1969, the developers had applied unsuccessfully to demolish the Grand Theatre as part of a major town centre redevelopment. Thousands of people objected to the much-loved Victorian theatre being destroyed, which is why it is still here today.

Since the building’s closure, latterly as a bingo hall in the early 1990s, the Friends of Doncaster Grand Theatre, who include former stage performers and theatre workers, have been working continuously to keep the theatre – a grade II listed building – in the public eye.

City of Doncaster Council, Theatres Trust and the Friends of Doncaster Grand Theatre, working with the Frenchgate partnership who own the building, are discussing the possibility of reopening the building which dates originally from March 1899. Surveys are being carried out and assessments of what needs to be done completed.

However, the Grand Theatre isn’t going to open tomorrow. Backstage facilities need modification. For health and safety reasons, access and emergency exit from the upper circle has to be improved before those seats can be used. This means that ground floor seating only will be used initially. This may eventually give enough room for several types of stage activities, including conferences.   

The Friends of Doncaster Grand Theatre need your help in our long-running campaign to reopen the city’s historic theatre.

The group’s President, Margaret Herbert, said: “The Friends need new members to support on a voluntary basis our wide range of activities which take place regularly throughout the year. We need volunteers who can spare a few hours to be involved with fundraising. We also seek new members for our committee which meets monthly in Doncaster to plan events and fundraising activities and hear about the activities of our partners, including the Theatres Trust and City of Doncaster Council.”

Please join us. Annual membership of the group costs just £12 for adults, £6 for full-time students and for seniors aged 65 and over. 

We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your interest in Doncaster Grand Theatre. For more information email