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Heating SOS at Frome Memorial Theatre

TRUSTEES of Frome Memorial Theatre have launched an urgent appeal to help keep the theatre open, as the heating system has broken down just as winter kicks in.

Two of the theatre’s four boilers have stopped working and trustees of the theatre could have to pay up to £45,000 to replace the system. They are appealing to local residents, businesses and organisations to help raise the funds for the community theatre.

Chairman of trustees Humphrey Barnes said, “Two of the boilers have been condemned, leaving us at half strength to heat the complex, and winter is almost upon us.

“We are in discussion with a number of commercial heating specialists in the area, and the quotations received so far to replace the heating system range from £32,000 to £38,000 + VAT.

“Our reserve funds will not cover this enormous cost. The trustees will now have to act quickly to secure some additional funding. It is a massive problem for us and we intend to apply to local district and county councils with the hope of some help, but of course any local organisations or individual donors that could help us keep this beautiful community theatre going, would be very much appreciated.

“Our slogan will be like the London Windmill Theatre – ‘we never close’.”

To get involved with the campaign contact the theatre on 01373 462795 or email info@fromememorial

The bad news struck just after a successful campaign to replace the theatre’s seats, which saw the theatre raise over £85,000 to complete the order. Donors gave £100 towards the cost and refitting of the 536 seats and in return, the donor’s name was placed on the seat.

The theatre opened in 1925 as a memorial hall in memory of those who fell in the 1st World War. During the 1930s, seating was installed to accommodate audiences for the ever growing popularity of cinema and traded as “The Grand.”

After falling into disrepair in the 1980s and 1990s, the Memorial Hall was threatened with demolition and was saved following a huge public outcry. A group was formed with the sole intention of saving the hall and using it as a theatre and assembly rooms for community purposes, staffed only by volunteers. Today, over 100 volunteers give their time freely to ensure the theatre runs smoothly, providing a much-loved entertainment venue for all ages.

The theatre is also the focal point for remembering the fallen of the 1st and 2nd World Wars, and conflicts since that time. The annual Remembrance Service in November is held at the theatre.