Act One: The Little Hippodrome theatre
Almost a year ago on East of the M60, we recorded the foundation of Friends of the Hippodrome, a steering group formed to raise awareness of Ashton-under-Lyne’s theatre. Today, it was announced on Tameside Radio that the former Blue Sea Restaurant would be the lesser theatre.
The Tameside Heritage and Arts Trust has been offered a lease with favourable terms. However, considerable work is required on the electrics, heating and insulation owing to vandalism and the building being vacant for some time. It is set to open before the main theatre, whilst the trust waits for Tameside MBC to transfer the Hippodrome.
As a consequence, Phase Two will become Phase One with the newer building being known as ‘Act One’. This will be a multi-purpose venue with:
- A 60 seat Studio Theatre;
- Performance space;
- A 80 seat café/restaurant;
- A digital art gallery;
- Exhibition space;
So far, the first exhibition has been booked and The Theatres Trust has welcomed the plans. There has been consultation between the Trust with the Arts Department of The Manchester College and Peter Ryder, Principal of Tameside College. The latter college is proposing a 200 seat theatre as part of its plans to move the Ashton Centre closer to the town centre itself.
The 80 seat restaurant/café will be situated on the ground floor with a small stage and known as the ‘Aquitaine’. ‘Act One’ will provide up to 20 jobs, a small but significant step towards restoring live first class theatre in Ashton-under-Lyne.
S.V., 05 June 2013.