Major boost in bid to buy town’s iconic theatre

The Fisher Theatre in Bungay. Photo: The Fisher Theatre.

The Fisher Theatre in Bungay. Photo: The Fisher Theatre. - Credit: Archant

A bid to buy a town's iconic theatre is a step closer after landing a significant charity grant.

The Fisher Theatre, in Bungay, has been awarded £80,000 from independent trust Power to Change, forming a major contribution to Bungay Arts and Theatre Society's (BATS) ambition to own the historic building.

The new grant takes the total raised to £118,000 after the group launched a Crowdfunder campaign in April 2019 to raise £150,000 by the end of this year.

Trustee Sandra Cox said: "The Power to Change grant will give our fundraising campaign an enormous boost.

"The fact that they put us through an incredibly rigorous process and have faith in us also means a great deal.

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"It brings our fundraising total to £118,00 and this will, we hope, inspire and motivate everyone involved to help us make that final push to raise the last £32,000 by the end of the year."

The move to own the building came after an offer by the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) to release the theatre from a long-term loan if the group could raise the funds in the community.

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Donations have been received from across the country, including £1,000 from film director Richard Curtis and wife Emma Freud.

Mark Gordon, director of communications and partnerships at Power to Change, said: "We are thrilled to be able to support this ambitious and important project.

"The arts are so vital in communities across the country and it is a real privilege to be able to support the last surviving theatre created by David Fisher."

The building is the last surviving theatre of the 13 built by David Fisher, with only a third still standing, and is believed to be the fourth oldest practising provincial theatre still in use.

A spokesperson for the AHF said: "We supported the return of the Fisher building to the Bungay community as a theatre after various years of other uses.

"We believe that better places can be built through community enterprise. Historic buildings and places play an essential role in our everyday lives, our cultural identity and our economy.

"The Fisher Theatre is incredibly excited about this offer and will be working closely with the community to secure the future of the theatre building for generations to come."

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