Hopes to save 200 year old Fisher Theatre

One of the first purpose-built Fisher Theatres marked its 200th anniversary this weekend as a group kick-started their efforts to transform it.

Crown Street Hall, in Lowestoft, first opened its doors in September 1812, but a campaigning group fears that the Grade II listed building could be lost if the community does not join together to save it.

So on Saturday an open day was held at the hall as the group tried to gauge the level of interest in the building, which needs an estimated �300,000 worth of repairs.

John Ellerby, of Crown Street Hall campaign committee, said: 'What we are trying to do is to make sure the community knows about this building and wants to continue using it because it could deteriorate so far that it could never be used again.'

The building has been used for a variety of purposes during its life, but for the last 30 years it has been a community centre.

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Despite numerous renovations in its history, the latest overhaul was in the 1980s and work is desperately required.

The hope is that the group can take it on from Waveney District Council and apply for lottery funding and raise money through other sources to help tackle the significant repairs.

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'It has been used in a huge variety of things over the years and it still could be,' said Mr Ellerby.

'We want to keep the building, celebrate the history and allow the community to have access to it.'

One possible suggestion is that a partnership could be formed with the nearby Boston Lodge to create a comprehensive community hub.

Mr Ellerby said that the reaction had been 'very positive' but that the group was surprised at how many people in the town did not know the hall existed.

Among its current uses, despite its current dilapidated state, are as a venue for the Waveney Folk Club, theatre groups and exhibitions.

A campaign meeting will be held at the hall on Monday, October 8 at 7.30pm to discuss the next stage.

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