The company chosen to operate the Under Ground Theatre in Eastbourne is officially out of the deal to re-open it.
Performance Initiative Eastbourne was chosen – from a handful of tenders – by East Sussex County Council in September last year to run the venue under the library in Grove Road but a lease was never signed.
The Herald revealed PIE was not in a position to operate the facility earlier this summer and today (Tuesday) the county council confirmed it is talking to the runner-up in the tender process instead.
A spokesperson at the council said, “Following a competition launched in the summer of 2018, the county council announced it had selected Performance Initiative Eastbourne (PIE) as the new tenant of the theatre space below Eastbourne Library.
“The group was selected both on the strength of the proposal it submitted and because of the talents and skills of the team which made up PIE. The council and PIE had agreed the terms of the new lease, however, in June this year we were informed that one of the two directors of PIE had withdrawn from the project.
“We gave PIE three months to seek to assemble a new team, with the same skills and level of funding which would have enabled the PIE proposal, as originally evaluated by the council last year, to be implemented. Unfortunately PIE has been unable to do so.
“Reluctantly, therefore, we have come to the conclusion that PIE is no longer the organisation which we selected as the new tenant for the theatre and that the proposal, as we originally judged it, is no longer viable.
“Like many people, we are disappointed the theatre has remained closed for so long. We are now in discussion with the runner-up in the competition, to establish whether it is in a position to implement its proposal and to re-open the theatre quickly.
“We expect to be able to make an announcement on those discussions before the end of the month.”