Money woes could spell final curtain for Sheffield theatre

Abbeydale Picture House 21. Abbeydale Picture House'PictureJB

Abbeydale Picture House 21. Abbeydale Picture House'PictureJB

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A MUCH-LOVED Sheffield landmark could be forced to close its doors for good.

Trustees have launched a last-ditch attempt to save Abbeydale Picture House after it was repossessed by mortgage lenders.

The neo-classical-style building, which opened its doors in 1920, has been plagued by money problems since the change of a mortgage policy increased repayments from £600 to £2,600 a month.

Since then, The Friends of Abbeydale Picture House group – which bought the empty structure seven years ago with a view to creating a creating a community venue for performing arts, visual media, theatre, live music and cinema – has been scraping together funds to keep it afloat.

But last month the bank stepped in and took possession of the Grade II-listed building, which provides a stage for amateur productions and has its own youth theatre.

That means the current production of Hi-De-Hi, which has its final performance tonight, could be the last to take to the stage.

Clive Jaques, director of The Friends of Abbeydale Picture House, said: “It might be a couple of months before it closes, it might be tomorrow. We just don’t know.

“We keep getting extensions from the bank and are looking at working with not-for-profit organisations but what we need is a big sum of money soon.

“The big concern is that a big chain supermarket will come along and buy it and just add it to their stock because it’s a cheap building.

“We had a letter from an older couple in Sheffield who met in the dance hall at Abbeydale.

“They sent us a £100 donation. That is how much a part of the community it is.”