On 6th February 2013 the Council agreed to grant a licence to RHT Management to run the Royal Hippodrome Theatre with the end goal of establishing a Community Interest Company that would then be in a position to take on a lease and run the venue as a combined community venue and professional theatre. Since 2010 the Council have been in varying negotiations with the Royal Hippodrome Trust – established as an offshoot of the Royal Project, which, sadly, failed to get off the ground.
In April 2015 A Community Interest Company was established, Royal Hippodrome Eastbourne CIC, which now runs the venue on a licence from Eastbourne Borough Council. The long term aim is to run the venue for the community under a lease. In March 2016 the CIC spent £40,000 in preparing a submission to the National Lottery Heritage Fund to raise £900,000 to improve the facade of the building, develop the archive and educational programme, install a lift and establish a new Heritage Hub on the top floor.
Sadly the bid failed with the National Lottery Heritage Board apparently saying that the project was “low priority”. The CIC will continue to fight for Phipps’ theatre until it starts falling down. The CIC will continue to try and raise the venue’s profile against the odds and continue to develop and enhance its programming. At the same time the CIC will demonstrate that there is a place for a venue that can combine professional and amateur performance. 2016 will see the highest number of community groups to use the venue for many many years.
The Hippodrome is also a key venue as part of the “Devonshire Collective” and is an important History Corner on the newly established Historical Heritage Trail.
If you are wanting to get involved with the Community Interest aspect of the project, then do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.