The final curtain could be set to fall on a Great Yarmouth theatre after the building was declared “at risk” last week.

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The Regent was placed on the Theatres At Risk list 2012 along with 48 other theatres across the country.

The Edwardian gem, nestled in the heart of Great Yarmouth, has been empty since Mecca bingo pulled out in December last year and now the building is at risk of being lost, according to the Theatres Trust.

The building served as a theatre and cinema from 1914 to 1982 and welcomed acts including Ken Dodd and Roy Hudd onto the stage.

A scheme to turn the theatre into a multiplex in 1982 did not come to fruition and a new owner was sought. A campaign by the EDP’s sister paper, the Great Yarmouth Mercury, resulted in the building being grade II listed, meaning it could not be altered in any way without planning consent.

Mecca Bingo stepped in and transformed it into a bingo hall, which closed in December.

The building is currently on the market.

Kate Carmichael, resources officer at The Theatres Trust, said: “More than half of the theatre buildings on the 2012 register have yet to find the financial and political support needed to secure a viable future.”

Before placing a theatre on the list, the trust must identify a risk such as threat of demolition, difficulties in obtaining capital or revenue or poor quality of operation which threatens the future theatre use of the building.

Kate added: “In addition, the theatre buildings are awarded a star rating, which provides a qualitative judgment on the importance of the theatre in terms of its theatrical quality – for example acoustics, warmth, facilities, architectural quality, historical significance and uniqueness.”

Mark Price, heritage advisor at The Theatres Trust, said: “I would like to see the building being used – anything which has a sustainable future.

“My message to people would be to get out there and use it. Some people might not even know what the building looks like inside.”

Darren Barker, conservation officer at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “It’s a typical Edwardian seaside entertainment building.

“It has no end of uses.

“It was built as a cinema so it could be reverted back to that or another theatrical use. The worst thing would be if the building was left to deteriorate.”

lucy.wright@archant.co.uk

10 comments

  • I'm all for old cinemas or theatres to be reopened. It was sad to see this being used as a bingo hall and then close permenantly. The one across the river in Gorleston should also be reopened.

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    Davman66

    Monday, July 9, 2012

  • Who remembers the A B C Minors, Saturday morning pictures held here, and the badges you could collect ? ? ?.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • Move the Seachange theatre troop there and let those that want to use the drill hall on York Road back in there for sporting purposes. Let those on the new initiative, The Peadiatric Healthy Weight Team (PHWT) help setting up the move and supporting the Drill hall with it's new sports activities. The Seachange people get a bespoke theatre, those that want sport in the drill hall don't have to pay the higher fees at the Marina and get their old home back and child obesity's profile is raised and the PHWT raise their profile and can help directly in a rundown area. A small amount of joined up thinking could really help here.

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    ThePresence

    Monday, July 9, 2012

  • Why not do an article showing the interior of the Regent? I am sure there are lots of people who have never been inside?

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    worried

    Monday, July 9, 2012

  • Like Loco says: It will soon be given away to the councils developer "friends" to be pulled down and flats buile in its place !.

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    "V"

    Monday, July 9, 2012

  • The Regent theatre used to be one of the best entertainment venues in Gt Yarmouth and I can remember having to queue in the 50s through to the 70s to see films and live acts, at the time it was probably considered “the best” we had to offer. It is another part of the towns heritage that will no doubt just be left to decay, or as stated sold off and developed into another major eye sore as opposed to an attraction. One of the problems that I see is car parking, people of today are to bone idle to leave their cars and walk anywhere, look at all the new multiplex cinemas that exist, monster car parks with all the trimmings, park outside and waddle the few yards to the door and get a bargain bucket of popcorn. With a bit of thought this theatre could host some terrific shows, which is what the town needs, just look at some of the act that appear in Norwich. Will we ever see quality acts again, or will it just be left and join the Jetty on the scrap heap?

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    Mr T

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • Don't worry hey will let it decay like the rest of the town. Look what happen to the jetty next up to fall down will be the winter gardens.

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    Glenn Rivett

    Monday, July 9, 2012

  • There's a problem with what ThePresence has to say, the people you are talking about wouldn't be able to afford the building, it would be too costly for them to run. As for "V", the one thing they can't do is pull it down and build flats, its now grade 2 listed which means that the outside cannot be touched, so it would look the same with flats inside, however if not converted inside, grade 2 listed or not, if its not used and gets to a delapidated state, then there would be not option but pull it down as it would be a danger to the public. Davman66, it won't be turned back into either a cinema or theatre as it wouldn't get the people through the door, don't forget the theatre on the pier, don't forget the cinema on the seafront which is also going to be in trouble when the new one gets built as part of the complex down by Pleasureland. Lets face it, it looks like we will have another empty building for a lhell of a ong time unless someone who has the time AND money comes along and really transforms it into something useful and wanted. Thinking about it, it could be turned back into an all year around theatre I suppose and as its seasonal and closed in the winter months anyway, the one on the pier could be converted to indoor family fun and games instead then when it rains there's someone else to go instead of the amusements.

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    Spooky

    Monday, July 9, 2012

  • I didn't realise how amazing that building was inside. This would make an amazing O2 academy for live music. I doubt that kind of thing would ever go ahead in GY but I've contacted AMG just in case they are on the scout for new venues. Maybe if someone else thinks the same they could do the same, if amg receive a few suggestions they might consider looking at the place.

    Report this comment

    lpeek

    Saturday, July 14, 2012

  • Nothing to worry about, the dinosaurs on Yarmouth council will soon get another piece of Yarmouth history pulled down.

    Report this comment

    loco

    Monday, July 9, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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