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Scarborough's Futurist Theatre history
Futurist Theatre, Scarborough
The Futurist has hosted stars like the Beatles, Ken Dodd and Shirley Bassey

Scarborough's Futurist Theatre is one of many buildings that have been identified as "at risk" by the Theatres Trust.

Entertainment has been on offer at the site since 1903 with the current building dating from the 1920s.

The council subsidy only guarantees the future of the building until the end of 2010.

A task group, due to report in the autumn, is examining options for the long term future of the building.

The site of the Futurist first began to be used for entertainment back in 1903 when Kiralfy's Arcadia Theatre opened. In 1912 the Palladium Picture House opened up next door.

In 1920 the Arcadia closed and was demolished to make way for the Futurist, which operated as a cinema. The neighbouring Palladium was renamed the Arcadia at the same time and offered live shows.

In the 1950s the Futurist's stage was extended to accommodate live performances and in 1968 that stage was again expanded taking over the whole site.

Morecambe and Wise
Morecambe and Wise are among the famous names who have appeared

Bassey and the Beatles

Impresario, Robert Luff, bought the Futurist in the 1960s and under his ownership the theatre became a popular venue for pop concerts, one-off shows and long summer seasons.

Luff was the man behind the stage version of the Black and White Minstrels, who appeared at the Futurist regularly and played to packed houses in the 60s and 70s.

In December 1963 the Beatles performed there and dozens of big name stars have trodden the boards at the 2000-seat theatre since, amongst them Morecambe and Wise, Shirley Bassey, Ken Dodd and the Bachelors.

Struggle to survive

In recent years, though, the face of seaside entertainment has changed dramatically.

Instead of having big summer season shows, theatres across the UK are more likely to host one-off shows or to rotate different performers during the summertime.

The Futurist was bought by Scarborough Council in 1985 and has had a turbulent quarter of a century since then.

For several years it was operated by entertainment company Apollo Leisure but eventually they struggled to make the venue pay.

In 2002, Scarborough Borough Council leased the property to Brenda and Barrie Stead, who refurbished the theatre and cinema.

Since then, the couple have run the Futurist on a year to year basis, with subsidies from the local authority.

Nowadays, as well as still operating as a cinema, the Futurist continues to stage a wide range of concerts and shows, including modern day favourites like the Chuckle Brothers.

A £100,000 subsidy was agreed by Scarborough Borough Council in November 2009, securing the future of the theatre until at least the end of 2010.

A task group, charged with examining options for the future, are due to report to the local authority by autumn 2010.

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