The Royal Hippodrome Theatre has been awarded a grant of £9,500 to help set up a Community Interest Company over the next three months.
The money comes in the form of a Community Ownership and Management of Assets Pre-Feasability Grant from the Social Investment Business Group, which manages the fund on behalf of the Department of Communities and Local Government.
The cash will be used to start a Community Interest Company, which will then allow the Royal Hippodrome Theatre to apply for other forms of funding to improve the facility for the community.
The grants are designed to help applicants build the internal capacity of their organisation to be able to deliver services or take on ownership of buildings and land. The maximum amount of money is £10,000 per application.
RHT Management, the team running the Royal Hippodrome Theatre, will also use the money to design and implement governance, build a management and operations structure, compile a draft operating model, identify training partners and research other models of good practice.
This aspect of the project, which has just three months to be completed, is being headed by Hilary Keenlyside, a theatre consultant whose experience includes the business modelling for theatres such as the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, Theatre Royal Margate and the Alexandra Palace Theatre, to name a few.
During the next three months, there will be consultations to see what the community wants from the theatre, starting with a Steering Group made up of current regular Hippodrome visitors.
Works are just about to start on behalf of the council, the owners of the building, to stop water ingress on the East side of the building, therefore getting it ready for a community transfer.