After funding was cut, Liverpool's Epstein Theatre closed

The Epstein Theater's exterior

A renowned theater's manager has declared that he will be "truly heartbroken" as the venue's curtain rises for what may be the last time.

Hanover Street's Epstein Theatre in Liverpool has closed as a result of the cessation of financial support from the city council.

Due to budget constraints, the local authority claimed it had not renewed a property agreement with the theater.

The venue's preservation as a theater, according to theater manager Anthony Procter, was his top priority.

The discussion will not end because of the closure, he insisted.

The preservation of the location as a theater for the long term is my top priority. ".

The 380-seat venue, which is listed as Grade II, debuted as a performance space in 1913. Prior to being renamed in honor of Brian Epstein, manager of The Beatles, it was known as Cranes Music Hall, Cranes Theatre, and The Neptune Theatre.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the local authority has been providing financial support for the venue since the 1960s, with its most recent annual spending on the Epstein exceeding £100,000 per year.

Anthony Procter
Protecting the location as a theater, according to Anthony Procter, was his top priority.

A deal was reached in 2018 involving Epstein Entertainments Ltd, Liverpool City Council, and a commercial landlord who owns the building's lease but sublets the theater back to the entertainment company.

The council used to help with a portion of the rent, service charge, utilities, and maintenance work as part of the management agreement, but that support is now over.

The decision had been "difficult for the council," according to Harry Doyle, cabinet member for health, wellbeing, and culture.

He said, "It's a tough day for the Epstein team, a tough day for the city, and a tough day for theatergoers.".

"It was a challenging decision to make a few years ago, and as a council, we had a very complicated relationship with the building. ".

External view of the Epstein Theatre
In the past, the location has gone by the names Cranes Music Hall, Cranes Theatre, and The Neptune Theatre.

He went on to say that the city's property dealings, including its agreement with the Epstein, were being closely examined by commissioners appointed by the government.

Theatergoers and activists have criticized the decision harshly, and local government officials have stated that it must "deliver value for the taxpayer.". ".

Epstein Entertainments Ltd has stated that it will try to move performances scheduled for Saturday through Friday to other venues in the Liverpool City Region. It has also stated that ticket holders for cancelled performances will get a full refund.

Mr. Doyle did not rule out a return for productions even though the theater's immediate future appeared bleak.

He claimed to be researching the possibility of the theater being run as a cooperative or community interest company, which would make it potentially eligible for funding for the arts.

He explained, "It's not so much that the council is withholding funding, it's the fact that we haven't renewed that lease, that property deal.

"We're adamant, we're in agreement, and we want to see the theater back there and the doors open once more.

. "

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