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Burnley Empire Theatre bought by group who want to restore it

burnley empire theatre 1

6:03pm 5th December 2018

The group who have been fighting to open up Burnley's Empire Theatre again have now bought the building.

Burnley Empire Limited is a company formed by the friends group Burnley Empire Theatre Trust (BETT) who were established three years ago.

The Empire is the only purpose-built Victorian theatre of its kind in East Lancashire and has fallen into a poor state.

Empire Pic 1

It's been empty since 1995.

But the new owners are hoping they can now restore it to its former glory.

Sophie Gibson, Director of Burnley Empire Limited said:

"We are excited to finally own the building that we all care about so much. It has been a hectic couple of weeks as there were lots of things to put in place to enable us to take on the building. We'd like to thank everyone who has supported us so far, in particular the Theatres Trust, National Trust, David Wilmore, Burnley Council and the Duchy of Lancaster.

"We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we believe that Burnley Empire has a bright future.

"We'd urge any local individuals or businesses who want to support the project to get in touch. Together we can make this a venue that the whole town can be proud of."

The next steps are to carry out a full condition survey and fundraise for any immediate repair works and the longer-term restoration project.

Burnley Empire has been on the Theatres Trust's Theatres at Risk register since the list began in 2006.

burnley empire

The Duchy of Lancaster had offered the group the Empire for £1 in 2015, but it was not then in a position to take on the large-scale project.

The group have now managed to raise enough funds to carry out those repairs.

Claire Appleby, Architecture Adviser at Theatres Trust said:

"As Burnley's only surviving music hall and Grade II listed theatre, Burnley Empire is a magnificent building with a high level of architectural interest and a fascinating history. But it is much more than that. It is a building that offers real potential for its local community and the new student population of Burnley.

"In Burnley Empire Limited, it has found an owner that can unlock this potential. We have been working with the group since 2015 and are delighted that we have been able to help them on the journey to achieving their ambition. We will continue to support the group."

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