Eastbourne Borough Council is set to grant the lease of the Royal Hippodrome Theatre to a local couple in a deal it says will secure the building for future generations.
Alex and Debbie Adams recently approached the council with a request to take over management of the theatre that needs at least £1.4 million investment to restore the building.
Alex and Debbie have been involved in theatre for much of their lives and have been producing the Summer Season at the Hippodrome for the past five years.
They are well known locally and run their own theatre school for children aged 3-17.
Having fallen in love with the theatre they made it their aim to secure funding in order for the theatre to be returned to its former glory.
At present, the grade II listed theatre is being run on a licence from the council by a Community Interest Company (CIC) set up in 2015.
The company recently secured external grant funding of £100,000 to improve works to the façade of the theatre.
Despite improvements over the years, the theatre, built in 1883, remains in poor condition.
Cabinet councillors agreed to enter into a lease agreement with Alex and Debbie and to take the necessary steps to enable work to start on the façade of the building.
The council will remain the freeholder of the theatre with the couple responsible for all building repairs. The current CIC - with the addition of Alex and Debbie as directors - will continue to manage the programming and running of the theatre.
Alex Adams said, “We are very excited to be taking on responsibility for the Hippodrome and whilst it is going to be an ongoing project over many years, we know we will be able to breathe some life back into the building and make the theatre a prominent feature of the town.”
The council’s Margaret Bannister said, “The Royal Hippodrome Theatre is very much part of Eastbourne’s history and so we are delighted that a local couple is going to be involved in running it. This will protect the future of the theatre for generations to come.”