Handing over the keys of Shanklin Theatre were, from left, Isle of Wight Cllr David Williams, Cllr David Pugh, trust secretary Anthony Wood and trust chairman Chris Quirk. Picture by Robin Crossley.
AN Isle of Wight theatre has finally been signed over to its trustees.
In the week the Moscow Ballet and Al Murray played to full houses at the theatre, Shanklin Theatre and Community Trust, which fought to save the now thriving venue, celebrated the final transfer of its ownership from the Isle of Wight Council.
IW Council leader, Cllr David Pugh, and Island councillor for Shanklin, David Williams, presented the theatre’s keys to Chris Quirk, the trust’s chairman, and Anthony Wood, its secretary, on Tuesday.
The charitable trust, which paid more than £100,000 for the landmark and which has run it as a community theatre the past three years, have helped to turn the fortunes of the threatre around.
The Isle of Wight Council had, at one stage, recommended demolition and redevelopment but it was saved thanks to Shanklin Theatre Action Group, Shanklin Town Council and the trust gaining its Grade II listed status from English Heritage.
Now the theatre is projected to make a profit this financial year.
The trust, working alongside the Friends of Shanklin Theatre, has made significant improvements, including new seating, flooring, a bar and cafe.
More than £180,000 has been spent on improving the fabric, safety, comfort and presentation of the theatre, with further investment scheduled over the next five years.
Mr Quirk said: "We are delighted to have finally achieved the transfer of the freehold back to Shanklin. It now gives the theatre a secure future."