Monmouthshire County Council is calling on residents, local businesses and theatregoers to name a seat or even sponsor a new bar area as a sponsor initiative launches.
It comes as the council seeks to reopen Abergavenny’s Borough Theatre, which is now set to be subject to a £1M major refurbishment programme to bring the iconic listed building up to modern day theatre standards.
Following detailed design and survey work, which uncovered unforeseen additional costs, tenders have now been received and a funding gap of circa £750K has been identified, which has been compounded by rising construction costs caused by supply chains issues resulting from the pandemic.
However, the council remains totally committed to the project and is keen to make it happen so will be investigating options to plug the funding gap over the coming period.
The sponsor initiative will give residents, local businesses and those with a passion for the theatre the chance to be part of the exciting refurbishment of the iconic theatre, which has stood as the focal point of Abergavenny for over 150 years.
It’s hoped the theatre will provide excellent promotional, social responsibility and commercial opportunities for business supporters and the council is keen to hear from anyone who wishes to discuss the ideas and opportunities.
The ‘adopt or name a seat’ offer aims to give sponsors the opportunity to have a dedicated plaque on a seat and a message for a number of years in return for their donation.
Both schemes have been widely used at many theatre renovation projects across the UK and gives people the opportunity to put their own mark on what promises to be a historic refurbishment. In the interim, the council will continue to explore further one off and long-term funding commitments.
Councillor Lisa Dymock, cabinet member with responsibility for the Borough Theatre said: “The discussions with tenderers has shown a build of 30 weeks as being a sensible and effective approach to our project but of course this cannot start until we have identified the funds.
’’This will clearly push our opening back into 2022 and we appreciate that this will impact on shows that have already been moved into early 2022 and which loyal customers have patiently been holding on to their tickets for.
’’We’ll be discussing the options with the promoters to see what shows can sensibly be moved in the calendar and if there are options for other venues in Abergavenny to host other shows. We will then be in touch with customers to let them know their options.
“We are also very aware of the effect on our popular user societies shows. We will of course be open to working with, and supporting where we can, these regular hirers on practical solutions to specific issues around mounting the performance elsewhere in the town.
“We are particularly keen that Abergavenny’s young people continue to have performance arts opportunities where they can learn, create, and explore in a fun and positive way. As a demonstration to our continuing commitment, we are keen to open up conversations with any interested parties who may wish to invest in one of Abergavenny’s most treasured cultural art’s venues.
“Abergavenny Town Council has been a long-term supporter of the theatre and we are grateful for the financial contributions they have made, not only to this project, but other initiatives of the theatre. We see them as key partners in the development and success of the Borough Theatre and welcome ongoing dialogue with them about how we can support and grow the Borough Theatre together.
“Also, if you share our passion for the Borough, name a new seat or even to sponsor the new bar, we’d love to hear from you.”
The theatre will be presenting arts and entertainment where it can around Abergavenny whilst its stage is dark and are pleased to be presenting the Horrible Histories at Abergavenny Castle on July 28.
Any person or business wishing to sponsor the theatre or discuss sponsorship opportunities can do so by visiting: https://boroughtheatreabergavenny.co.uk/