The story so far...
In April 2000 a group of Hyde residents achieved success when the Theatre Royal was awarded listed building status, following the threat of demolition to make way for a housing development. The group who named themselves "Theatre Royal Onward" succeeded in gaining listed status on their first attempt, and hence saved the building from the bulldozers.
Following this success a public meeting was held in February 2001 resulting in a decision to form a Building Preservation Trust. The aim of this trust is to raise funds for the survey, purchase, restoration re-opening and eventual running of the theatre for the benefit and enjoyment of the community.
At a further meeting in April 2001 a committee was elected and Trustees appointed. The name "Theatre Royal Onward" was chosen due to "Onward" being prominent in the town logo and motto. In May 2001, Theatre Royal Onward was registered as a company limited by guarantee (Company No: 4223449).
In April of 2002 the Theatre Royal Onward gained registered charity status No: 1091964, and had raised enough funds and secured a grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund to allow Lloyd Evans Prichard of Manchester, whose restoration work has included John Rylands Library, to commence the buildings survey. At the same time a technical survey was arranged by the Theatres Trust.
Since then, members have been in touch with potential funders and hope that a presentation to the business community, to show the potential of the theatre, might help overcome the initial hurdle of purchase or lease of the building. So far two businessmen, both with experience of theatre and community needs and supportive of our aims, have offered financial help in this way. It is hoped that more backers will come forward to help either financially with the purchase of the building and a lease back arrangement with TRO and/or the further assistance which will be required with insurance and such other day-to-day expenses.
We are currently conducting a market research survey, to give an indication of the potential for use of the theatre by asking the general public why they think it should remain and what would bring them in through its doors to place bums on seats.
There is still a long way to go until the Theatre Royal, Hyde, is back to its former glory, but with your support it can be achieved.
Theatre Royal Onward is delighted to have as it's patrons the following public figures:
Lord Pendry of Staylbridge: Lord Pendry was MP for Hyde & Stalybridge for over thirty years, always showing a great interest in and working for the community. He was elevated to the peerage for his services and took his seat in the House of Lords in 2001.
Meg Johnson: A well known and highly respected actress, Meg has appeared on the stage of the Theatre Royal many times and is possibly best remembered for the lead role of Maria in the Sound of Music. Since turning professional Meg has become a celebrated star of stage and screen, including roles in the West End