The theatre sits next to Frenchgate, close to Doncaster station. Credit: via Appeal

Grand Theatre up for grabs

Next to the Frenchgate shopping centre, the Doncaster venue has been closed for 30 years and requires major work, leading auctioneer Mark Jenkinson to offer it on a nil reserve basis with no minimum guide price.

The grade two-listed building, located on Trafford Way, was built in 1898. It became a bingo hall in 1963 and finally closed down in 1995, since when it has remained empty and has gradually fallen into a state of disrepair.

Inside, the theatre building retains its original curved galleries, a stage with proscenium arch and decorative plaster ceiling.

A long-running campaign to bring the theatre back in to use led to a feasibility study in 2021, which found that urgent repair works would be needed before it could be re-opened, even with a greatly reduced audience capacity.

James Vandenbrook, associate director at auctioneer Mark Jenkinson, said: “The Grand Theatre is a really well known building in Doncaster and the whole community has been saddened to see it gradually decline into a state of dereliction.

“It has been unused for almost 30 years and putting the property up for sale at auction with nil reserve will no doubt be the catalyst for a positive new future for this much-loved Victorian icon, which definitely has the potential to become an asset to the city centre economy once again.”

Another direction could be the way forward, rather than theatre use, suggested Vandenbrook: “While it would be tremendous to see it return to use as an arts venue, in recent years other period properties within the city centre such as the Wool Market have undergone sympathetic redevelopment that has given them a new identity, attracting more people into the city centre and serving as prime examples of successful regeneration projects.”

He added: “Not surprisingly, we have been contacted by several potential buyers interested in acquiring the Grand Theatre.”

The theatre will appear with more than 100 other lots in Mark Jenkinson’s next online auction. Bidding closes at 10am on 17 July.

Other uses are an option, said Mark Jenkinson. Credit: via Appeal

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Stunning! It needs to be saved for the people of Donny. This part of town was decimated by town planners and needs to be kept as a reminder of the city’s significance.

By Heritage Action

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