SOUTHPORT THEATRE has become one of the first venue’s to closed as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
The venue’s operator Bliss Space (Southport) Ltd has gone into liquidation, blaming “devastating trading conditions” and an uncertain future.
The company is in the hands or liquidator Stephen Katz of David Rubin and Partners, with ticket-holders to forthcoming shows told Bliss Space is unable issue refunds.
The 1,600-capacity theatre, which opened in 1973 and was the subject of a £40 million investment programme in 2008, has hosted shows by acts including Johnny Cash, Diana Ross, John Mayall and Midge Ure.
The venue is owned by Sefton Council and was managed by Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) for 18 years until April 2018, when Bliss Space took a three-year lease.
After an investigations into the condition of the building by Sefton Council, following the end of ATG’s involvement, it became apparent the theatre required £1.2 million of urgent repairs.
According to directors Robert Agsteribbe and Daniel Broch, Bliss had begun to turn a small profit.
“We were looking forward to our third year when the coronavirus outbreak suddenly struck. It has come out of nowhere and at the worst possible time for everyone,” they said in a statement.
Agsteribbe and Broch are also directors of Bliss Hotels, a separate company that in 2017 acquired a 250-year lease for the Waterfront development on Southport’s promenade, adjacent to the Theatre, which includes the Bliss Hotel.
Councillor Marion Atkinson says Sefton Council is reviewing plans for the reopening of the theatre.
Meanwhile, Birmingham Hippodrome (cap. 1,850) has entered a period of redundancy consultations.
The venue’s CEO Fiona Allan says, “With the closure of the job retention [furlough] scheme on 31 October and no current guidance of when we will we be able to reopen, we do not have the reserves to sustain prolonged closure.”