TALKS between Dudley Council and a company looking to take over the Hippodrome and run it as a theatre are set for this month, in a development which may mean the 75-year-old variety theatre will be saved.
The Dudley Hippodrome has been empty and unused since 2009 when it ceased to be a bingo hall.
But now Events That Rok is "exploring a potential acquisition of the Hippodrome from Dudley Council with a view to reopening the venue as a working theatre and community centre for the people of Dudley."
Events That Rok is an international events company producing, co-ordinating and live streaming events throughout the world.
Its co-founder and chairman is Jonathan Kendrick, the son of Vic Kendrick who owned the Dudley Hippodrome in the 1960s.
The company's website describes Jonathan as "a highly successful serial entrepreneur." The theatre faces an uncertain future. Decades of neglect have taken their toll and the building has been earmarked for demolition as part of plans to redevelop the Castle Hill area of Dudley.
Jason Francis, CEO of Events That Rok, told The Bugle: "I understand that this has become a very emotive issue and, whereas I do not want to give anyone false hope, all I can say is that if there is a viable deal to be done with Dudley Council, and a willingness thereafter, then Jonathan Kendrick and Events that Rok would like to rebuild, reopen and run the Hippodrome as a multi-purpose venue for the people and, importantly, the children of Dudley."
The Friends of Dudley Hippodrome, who are campaigning to save the historic theatre, have been in contact with Events that Rok. Garry Sawers, of the friends group, said: "The priority is to save the building, so we'd be very happy if Events that Rok are successful in their dealings with the council and we look forward to doing something with them."
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