A huge crowd-funding campaign is underway to restore an Edwardian Tameside theatre to its former glory, but it could face demolition if is not successful by December 16.
Organisers of the theatre, which dates back more than 110 years, hope to raise £90,000 in order to fund the regeneration of Theatre Royle Hyde.
The Grade II listed theatre closed in 1992 and ever since has suffered from neglect, at one stage close to being demolished.
Trust chairman John Gray believes the group has a ‘mountain to climb’ if is to raise the required funds in time before it faces demolition.
‘A MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB’: The Theatre Royle trust need all the help they can get to meet their Christmas deadline
“We need help, basically,” said Mr Gray.
“We need some big hitters to get involved to help us meet the Christmas deadline, otherwise potentially it is going to be dead in the water.
“We think it’s probably going to be the last real opportunity we will get to buy the theatre.
“I suspect if we do not raise this money then this time next year it could potentially be a car park.”
The Theatre Royal Onward trust has secured a contract to buy the ‘stunning’ building for community use and is appealing for donations in order to finalise the deal.
The trust says the vision for the building is to be re-opened for theatre, film, concerts, weddings and other functions and say it will breathe new life into Hyde and the surrounding area.
Claire Appleby, advisor for Theatres Trust, described Theatre Royal Hyde as a ‘really important’ theatre.
Ms Appleby said: “They need to raise funds urgently to buy and restore the grade II Hyde Theatre Royal, and we urge people to support Theatre Royal Onward’s campaign.
“In their hands it would be saved and reopened once again, and make such a difference to the local economy and the surrounding community.”
If the trust succeeds in raising £90,000, a six month extension will be granted to raise the total purchase price of £250,000 which will be raised through grants and donations.
So far, close to £7,000 has been raised, with one backer putting at least £2,500 towards the campaign.
The theatre, which dates back more than a century, has played host to stars such as Laurel & Hardy and Julie Andrews.
If you’d like to become involved in the campaign in any way, the trust meets every first Tuesday of the month at the Cheshire Ring Public House, 72 Manchester Road, Hyde.