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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 November 2007, 15:15 GMT
Closure concern at oldest theatre
Dumfries Theatre Royal
The Theatre Royal requires new lighting to meet safety standards
The oldest working theatre in Scotland could face closure if a funding request for replacement lighting is not met.

Owners of Dumfries' Theatre Royal have asked the local council for 25,000 towards works which need to be carried out to meet safety requirements.

Councillors have been requested to meet the costs out of a 488,000 budget for theatre development in the town.

A 7m project to replace the 215-year-old theatre collapsed last year due to funding problems.

A council report warns that failure to find the funds could lead to serious problems for the historic site.

Town regeneration

"The Theatre Royal is the main theatre in Dumfries, but it is badly in need of investment to ensure its future," it states.

"There is a risk that, without funding support, the Guild of Players will be unable to continue to comply with health and safety requirements and the theatre will have to close.

"This in turn could undermine the council's efforts to promote the regeneration of Dumfries town centre."

Artist's impression of new theatre
Ambitious plans to revamp the theatre collapsed last year

However, the council's policy committee will also be warned that spending money from its theatre development fund could undermine any more significant projects in future.

The lighting issue is the latest in a string of difficulties to face the theatre.

The owners are facing an increasing range of essential repair and replacement works at the site.

A major funding package between Dumfries and Galloway Council, the Scottish Arts Council and the European Regional Development Fund to build a new theatre was agreed three years ago.

That particular project was refused planning permission in July 2005.

A revised scheme was subsequently submitted and approved the following year.

However, it required an additional council contribution and the authority baulked at the escalating costs and the project ultimately collapsed.

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