Reopening date revealed for Melton Theatre

A possible reopening date for Melton Theatre has been revealed this afternoon (Thursday).

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 4:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th April 2021, 6:03 pm
The entrance to Melton Theatre at the Brooksby Melton College site EMN-210804-163657001

The award-winning Asfordby Road venue has been closed for just over a year, from when the government announced the first national lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

It has been a much-loved attraction for the community for 45 years, with many sell-out shows for top comedians such as Ken Dodd and Lee Evans, magicians including Paul Daniels and a range of top quality singers, dancers and performers.

During the last year there have been rumours that the theatre may never reopen because of the devastating economic impact of the Covid lockdowns.

Brooksby Melton College chief executive and principal, Dawn Whitemore EMN-210804-163834001

But SMB Group - which owns the theatre, Brooksby Melton College and Stephenson College at Coalville - confirmed that plans were being made to reopen the venue in seven months’ time with investment from the ongoing sale of some of its land at the Spinney Campus at Brooksby for a housing development.

Chief executive and principal Dawn Whitemore told the Melton Times: “We are hoping to re-open Melton Theatre from November 2021.

“However, this is subject to essential works being completed and the government’s Covid roadmap staying on track.

“The sale of the Spinney Campus on the A607 will provide us with funds that will be invested into the theatre, once that sale has completed.”

Ken Dodd pictured before one of his Melton Theatre shows in the 1980s with the then theatre manager Ray Flude EMN-210804-163542001

We reported in December that Bloor Homes had bought the Spinney Campus site, at the entrance to the Brooksby campus, so it could build 70 new homes there.

Melton Borough Council has granted outline planning permission for the development for the properties.

Some of the proceeds from the land sale will now be vital in getting Melton Theatre up and running at the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Mrs Whitemore has been responding to today’s earlier announcement that Brooksby Melton College is one of only 16 colleges in the country selected to receive government funding to help upgrade and enhance its buildings and facilities.

It is not clear at this stage what share of the total £1.5billion FE Capital Transformation Fund but it will be used solely for the Brooksby campus and not the Melton one.

Mrs Whitemore said: “I am delighted to confirm that Brooksby Melton College is one of only 16 Colleges selected by the government for priority funding to improve facilities at our Brooksby Campus.

“This is much needed and a major funding investment from the government, which will be truly transformational for our college.

“The Prime Minister has really provided us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure we have facilities that are fit for purpose - enabling us to create a sustainable educational proposition.

“This means we can then concentrate all of our efforts, and play our role, in developing the skilled workforce that our country needs, whilst enriching the learning experience for our students.

“This announcement is just brilliant for our staff, students and stakeholders, particularly after the last 12 months.

“We look forward to working with the government in the planning and renovation of our resources.”

In terms of the amount of the funding due to be received, she added: “At this stage, we do not know the level of investment and there is still work to be undertaken to get to that point.”