The project to bring life back to Burnley Empire Theatre has been awarded a £44,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The funding will be used to improve knowledge of the building structure and condition, to look at viable future uses in light of town centre developments, and to establish a charitable organisation and undertake trustee training and development to equip community owners with the knowledge and expertise to manage and develop the project.
Burnley Empire is the last surviving Edwardian theatre in the whole of East Lancashire; a hidden gem currently closed off to the public.
In December 2018 the friend’s group ‘Burnley Empire Theatre Trust’ formed Burnley Empire Limited and took ownership of the Burnley Empire in order to save the building from auction and continue efforts towards restoration and reuse.
Sophie Gibson, Burnley Empire Limited director, said: “This is fantastic news for the building and the town. This support, thanks to National Lottery players will kick start the project towards restoration and help towards the journey to bring the Empire into 21st Century use.
"As always, it’s not going to happen overnight, and a lot of hard work has to go on behind the scene before progress is visible.
“Being awarded this grant shows that we are making progress and that the heritage and future use of the Burnley Empire is something to be valued and worth fighting for.”
The project has also received the support of Burnley Football Club vice-chairman Barry Kilby who said: “On behalf of myself, my son Stephen and the Club I am delighted to see movement towards saving the iconic infrastructure of the building.
“The restoration of Burnley Empire theatre would be extremely beneficial to the town and a fantastic asset to the local community. I can see a great synergy between the Empire and the football club.”