Futurist - 'A Stay of Execution?'

Benefitz Betty's picture

The Save the Futurista's played to a packed house at the YMCA (a wonderful community theatre) with over 300 local residents along with 15 councillors.

Prior to the meeting, ninety minutes,  the Council were mailed the latest Futurist Theatre Proposal a 'Magna Model' (in full flow ;-)

"Dear Councillors
We write to you at an extremely critical time with an exciting and hitherto unexplored proposition. Based on a pioneering, sustainable business model, this document will summarise our medium and longterm goals for retaining, restoring and modernising the Futurist Theatre as a vital cultural and economic asset. Our goal for a reopened Futurist has received wholehearted support from a number of national bodies and companies, including the Cinema Theatre Association, The Theatres Trust and John Thompson and Partners and it is our hope that, upon considering the information contained within this document, councillors will vote to grant an immediate stay of execution - allowing sufficient time for the funding and preparation of a meticulously researched business plan and feasibility study based on our vibrant business model.

It is also our hope that this may kindle a dialogue between Save the Futurist and SBC with our common concern for the wellbeing of our borough at its heart.

We believe that this issue is above party politics and ask that you fully consider and reconsider the information contained within.

Our vision is to provide Scarborough and the borough with a viable, world-class, landmark theatre capable of improving residents’ quality of life through the provision of the highest quality entertainment, fostering a dramatic and sustained increase in cultural tourism and therefore continually generating millions of pounds for the local economy. It is understandable that, as custodians of the Futurist, SBC wishes to see a robust business plan for a sustainable Futurist Theatre. Although invitations have previously been made to this effect, it was impossible for Save the Futurist to undertake this work at the time. However, as we are all aware, it is not too late.
The intervening time has not been spent idly. Our group has become a conduit for the vast local support for the Futurist; our Facebook following exceeding 4,000 people and a live video stream of our December public meeting having reached over 19,000 people.

Having since recruited theatre practitioners, architecture and business experts, we are now able to offer a business proposal hitherto unexplored in any plan or study yet submitted to SBC.

Through extensive work reaching out to the local community we are also able to take advantage of voluntary contributions from local trades and businesses and offer professional structural repairs to the theatre roof and removal of the Futurist’s cladding at no cost to SBC. This will improve the aesthetic of the building whilst making it safe and secure for the months required to fund and compile our business plan. This truly is a community enterprise with real community ambition - something which SBC should surely nurture.  Signed Adam Flynn & Debi Silver"


Here is the plan: Immediate Stay of Execution – Business Plan and Feasibility Study

"Although reports, plans and studies have been submitted to SBC over the years, we believe that one model – our “Mega Musical” model – has the greatest potential to generate millions of pounds for the local economy and has never been fully explored for consideration by SBC.

This was echoed by the former Director of The Theatres Trust Mhora Samuel in her letter of 2013 to Cllr Tom  Fox regarding the 2012 Wafer Hadley update of the Burton/Cogo-Fawcett report. The paper starts with the proposition that “the continued operation of a Theatre in the current site is unsustainable” and outlines the process through which this conclusion has emerged. Whilst we would acknowledge that the process has been thorough, we would argue that it is flawed, and, as a result, has come to some conclusions about The Futurist Theatre and the wider theatre infrastructure within Scarborough which are not correct.

For councillors to approve demolition of the Futurist without fully considering all other options would do a great disservice to the residents they were elected to serve. At this stage, Save the Futurist are not asking for the lease of the building. Only the time to fully investigate our business model and submit it to SBC for full, fair and transparent consideration.

Our aim is to prove conclusively whether or not there is a sustainable future for the Futurist.

Save the Futurist (timescale 12-18 months):
• Form a charitable trust - currently in progress with CAVCA 12/2016
• Raise non-council funds circa £40-£50k e.g. The Architectural Heritage fund
• Arrange and undertake phased repair of Futurist roof, removal of cladding and cleaning of auditorium using voluntary contributions of local businesses and tradespeople (see appendix)
• Employ independent consultants e.g. Bonnar Keenlyside (Burnley Empire feasibility study), Jura Consultants (North Berwick Arts Centre feasibility study), ACL Consultancy Solutions (Kings Theatre, Southsea feasibility study) to compile feasibility study based on hitherto unexplored business model
• Consult with architecture, theatre and construction experts to investigate, design and fully cost the required works outlined in the business model
• Present findings of feasibility study and business plan to SBC for full consideration Scarborough Borough Council:
• Allow an immediate stay of execution permitting sufficient time for completion of above
• Enter into immediate dialogue with Save the Futurist regarding access for roof repairs and cladding removal
• Grant building access to Save the Futurist and other required personnel in order to allow a full investigation of the building condition to provide the design team with sufficient information to progress initial design work and costings.
• Grant access to all structural and ground investigation work that the Council has carried out to date
• Give full, fair and transparent consideration to resulting business plan and feasibility study with a view to implementing model contained within the business model

Business Model

This exciting proposition is more than simply a statement of our ambition for the Futurist; it is a statement of our ambition for Scarborough and the borough. We wish to see the Futurist fully modernised and beautifully restored as a central part of the tourism and cultural provision for both the town and the wider region. We also believe that an updated, sustainable Futurist Theatre - re-fitted as a world-class facility - would bring untold economic benefits to each and every resident of Scarborough; theatregoer or not.

Structural Work and Modernisation
Key to the Futurist succeeding as a thriving commercial arts hub, are structural works, expansion and a comprehensive modernisation programme.
It is currently impossible to give accurate plans and costing for the required works including the crucial addition of dock doors and expansion of wing space. However, with sufficient building access, consulting with architects, engineers and quantity surveyors, we will provide a full set of plans and costing within our business plan based on investigation of the following points.
Please Note:
• Feasibility and business plan will review the phasing of these works as they may be funding dependent
• The Futurist Theatre Trust will be responsible for ongoing repairs to the fabric of the building upon agreement of lease
• Required work will, in all likelihood, include the takeover and conversion of retail units at southern end of the site for inclusion into the business. As these have also been slated for demolition, this will be of no loss to SBC
• Plans may include additional stories above the current structure in keeping with the original architectural aesthetic

Building wide structural works
• Replace roof
• Remove cladding and sympathetically restore original building façade
• Asbestos removal
Building wide modernisation
• Security and fire alarm systems
• Overhaul of heating, cooling, ventilation and hot water systems
• Investigate use of solar, wind, tidal or wave power (possible second phase)
• Investigate use of rainwater harvesting (possible second phase)
• Addition of substantial network and IT facilities – include new website and integrated online ticketing system
• Update/overhaul power supply and electrical wiring including CEE form, powerlock, domestic lighting, emergency lighting and 13 amp
• Addition of zoneable building wide PA system
• Tasteful redesign of architectural lighting
• Addition of interior and exterior digital billboards and signage

Structural improvements to stage house
• Expansion of stage left, stage right and upstage wing space to maximum possible dimensions
• Addition of dock door in consultation with haulage firms e.g. Paul Matthew International
• Investigate haulage parking & access from street in consultation with haulage firms, NYCC and SBC
• Addition of large sub-stage area
• Flattening of raked stage
• Addition/expansion of orchestra pit
• Investigate replacement of gridiron
• Possible conversion to double-purchase counterweight fly system
• Improved access to fly floor and fly tower removing need for access ladder

Modernisation of stage systems
• Substantial overhaul of lighting, sound, stage and AV infrastructure in consultation with relevant experts and practitioners – thoroughly investigate and prepare for changing technologies for coming decades.
o Replace and rewire all dimmable 15amp LX rigging positions front of house and onstage. Additional provision of 16amp and/or 32amp hard power in these positions
o Purchase of basic “general cover” stage lights, industry standard 15amp stage lighting dimmers and industry standard lighting desk
o Redesign and replacement of signal cabling, tie lines, patch panels including DMX, Network, cue lights, comms and AV
o Replace and rewire all sound rigging positions front of house and onstage
o Purchase of basic stage sound system and industry standard sound desk
• Replace or update safety curtain and drencher system
• Investigate becoming broadcast ready with outside broadcast and live recording infrastructure for HD, 4K and 8K

Structural improvements to backstage areas
• Expansion of stage door/backstage reception and administration area
• Reorganisation and modernisation of dressing room facilities
• Addition of en suite and company shower facilities
• Addition of company offices for touring staff
• Additional offices for building staff
• Addition of meeting/boardroom(s)
• Addition of green room/communal area
• Addition of wig, costume and laundry facilities
• Addition of substantial rehearsal studio matching stage and portion of wing space dimensions - possible second use as additional performance venue
• Addition of basic recording studio/music room facility

Modernisation of backstage areas
• Replace show relay, monitors and PA system
• Free, secure, high speed WiFi for building and touring staff
• Improved security procedures for stage door access
• Improved security for dressing room access
• Improve access to all backstage areas

Structural improvements to public areas
• Reorganisation and expansion of front of house infrastructure e.g. box office, foyer, entrance, access, bars and toilets
• Addition of Restaurant and piano bar with rooftop terrace

Modernisation of public areas
• Integrated POS systems for box office, website, bar, merchandise and restaurant sales
• Improve access to all public areas
• Update, add or replace where necessary all bar, kitchen and catering facilities
• Sympathetically redecorate auditorium and front of house areas in keeping with architectural aesthetic – including domestic lighting, houselights and theatre seating (possible second phase)

Funding for Structural and Modernisation Work
• Upon guarantee of tenure, seek funding from bodies including National Lottery
• Seek corporate and private sponsorship of the Futurist’s 2,155 seats in return for “membership” perks e.g. two tickets annually with complimentary refreshments and backstage tour
o £2,000 per seat will generate £4,310,000
o £1,000 per seat will generate £2,155,000

Key Operational Points
• To be operated by The Futurist Theatre Trust on a long-term lease (50 years +) at peppercorn rent
o Rates to be paid from year 2
o Will not rely on council funding or subsidy for operating costs
• Dramatically increase Scarborough’s cultural tourism by becoming and remaining a dynamic, pioneering, world-class facility in order to attract the highest quality commercially successful product
• Reinstate the Futurist as a key player on the number 1 national touring grid
• Aspire to a “Scarborough Sees it First” model rivalling “Manchester gets it first” (see appendix) by offering spacious, flexible, cutting-edge production facilities, a dedicated local audience and dynamic
and knowledgeable staff.
o Scarborough has seen many years success as a town of world premieres. Amongst others - including The Woman in Black - more than 70 of renowned playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s works have premiered in the town prior to west end or Broadway transfers • Ensure highest quality staffing at all levels reflected in salaries and wages in line with and above UKT/BECTU guidelines

o Run apprentice schemes within relevant departments ensuring the highest level of training, whilst nurturing and instilling creative and professional conduct thus investing in future generations
• Operate primarily as a receiving theatre favouring A-rated large-scale touring productions or “mega musicals” whilst also offering an exciting programme of drama, comedy, opera, dance, smaller scale
musicals (B-rated), annual pantomime and possible occasional cinema use

o Tender annual pantomime to nationally recognised production companies in years 1-3 e.g. First Family, QDos and Evolution.
o Transition to producing an annual pantomime in house by year 4
o Foster links with production companies and other producing theatres, possibly leading to occasional investment as a co-producer of musicals and/or drama by year 5
o Investigate occasional in house production of musicals and drama for national tours and/or west end transfers by year 10 e.g. Leicester Curve and Chichester Festival Theatre
• Make accessible the highest quality facility to residents and visitors of all walks of life
o Investigate scheme offering timetabled use of shower and laundry facilities to local homeless charities e.g. Foundation
o Foster close links with neighbouring residents offering annual discount for certain performances
o Commit to regular signed, captioned, audio described and relaxed performances
• Spearhead a broader cultural tourism strategy for the borough in partnership with other venues of all sizes and programming
o Spearhead healthy co-operation between Scarborough’s theatres and performance venues to ensure complimentary programming
o May lead to joint marketing initiative with venues, hotels, restaurants, arts institutions and other businesses across the borough e.g. Worthing Theatres and Manchester Theatres offering ticketing, dining and hotel package deals from a central ticketing office
o Investigate improved transport links primarily focussing on more frequent, later operating train services connecting Scarborough’s night time economy to the wider region

Figures are indicative and will need more benchmarking as part of a proper business planning exercise Projected Box Office Take – based on average ticket price (80/20 Box Office split with producers) and
programming of comparable venue

Years 1-3
FULL HOUSE – 2,155 seats
No.Perfs Mean/Perf Mean/Annual
Panto – tendered 48 £11,744.75 £563,748.00
Musical 203 £18,748.50 £3,805,945.50
Comedy 7 £12,714.50 £89,001.50
Opera 5 £12,499.00 £62,495.00
Dance 37 £12,770.53 £472,509.61
Total 300 £4,993,699.61

HALF HOUSE – 1,077 seats
No.Perfs Mean/Perf Mean/Annual
Panto – tendered 48 £5,872.38 £281,874.00
Musical 203 £9,374.25 £1,902,972.75
Comedy 7 £6,357.25 £44,500.75
Opera 5 £6,249.50 £31,247.50
Dance 37 £6,385.27 £236,254.81
Total 300 £2,496,849.81
Year 4-5

FULL HOUSE – 2,155 seats
No.Perfs Mean/Perf Mean/Annual
Panto – produced 48 £58,723.75 £2,818,740.00
Musical 203 £18,748.50 £3,805,945.50
Comedy 7 £12,714.50 £89,001.50
Opera 5 £12,499.00 £62,495.00
Dance 37 £12,770.53 £472,509.61
Total 300 £7,248,691.61

HALF HOUSE – 1,077 seats
No.Perfs Mean/Perf Mean/Annual
Panto – produced 48 £29,361.88 £1,409,370.00
Musical 203 £9,374.25 £1,902,972.75
Comedy 7 £6,357.25 £44,500.75
Opera 5 £6,249.50 £31,247.50
Dance 37 £6,385.27 £236,254.81
Total 300 £5,033,715.81

Other Revenue Streams (est. £750,000 - £850,000 gross)
• Lease of café/restaurant
• Sale of concessions e.g. programmes, light refreshments
• 25% of merchandise sales
• Bar sales
• Backstage tours
• Rehearsal room hire
• Meeting room hire
• Recording studio/music room hire

Projected Annual Operating Costs (est, £1,400,000 years 1-3) (est. £1,600,000 from year 4)
• Staffing £750,000
• Other costs including utilities £650,000
• Annual pantomime production (from year 4) £150,000 - £200,000

Sustained positive impact on local economy
Scarborough’s local economy has already suffered as a result of the closure of the Futurist. A regenerated and refurbished theatre based on our “mega musicals” model would benefit the local economy to the tune of many millions of pounds annually through a dramatic increase in cultural tourism.

Mega Musical (see appendix)
In 2013 an article in the Manchester Evening News gave an insight into the benefits that the 2012 tour of The  Lion King brought to Manchester’s local economy.
“During its 21-week run in 2012, Manchester’s tourism and leisure providers - such as hoteliers and restaurateurs - were estimated to have taken a massive £15m extra revenue on the back of the show…Playing to more than 322,000 fans at 166 performances…visitors [travelled] from as far north as the Shetland Islands, more than 460 miles away…sixty per cent of the audience have travelled from outside the region to see the production and 64pc were visiting the Palace [Theatre] for the first time, generating huge benefits for the city.”
• It is clear to see that productions of this calibre bring huge cultural and economic benefits to the relatively small number of regional theatres capable of hosting them.
• A single run of 166 performances may be ambitious for Scarborough however based on this example, we can estimate that a mega musical would benefit the local economy to the tune of £90,000 per performance (full house) or £40pp. This equates to roughly £18,000,000 annually based on 203 musical performances estimated on page 7..."





Manchester? http://www.visitmanchester.com/


Oh,OK: Save the Futurist Business Proposal 170105.pdf


Pass the bucket ...

Morning x

PS Further reports and a presentaion by ARUP on the technicals are to be 'consumed' by Members over the week-end.



Captain Qahn's picture

Futurist Site ... The Sixth Sense?


"On Labour’s decision to market the site 20 years ago, this is irrelevant, as decisions can be reversed. Anyway, Labour, bar one, voted against demolition.

He mentions £2 million- plus since then keeping the venue in operation. This averages at £100,000 per annum for a prime site amenity. A breakdown of the figures, to show expenditure, is needed for this amount to be meaningful. How does this year-round attraction compare with the Open Air Theatre losses?

The Deed of Covenant made June 19, 1986, between Property Pension (Holdings) Ltd and Scarborough Borough Council, signed by GT Tuby (mayor) and John Trebble (chief executive) on purchase of the Futurist, states, as the following extract and shows the council’s legal obligation. It stated: The council hereby covenants with the company as follows:

a) To maintain, repair and renew and keep in good and substantial repair that part of the Futurist theatre as is coloured green on the plan number three annexed hereto so as to support and protect the adjoining property of the company as is above or below the said part coloured green.

b) Not to diminish or lessen the support and protection now given or afforded to any part of the company’s retained part of the Futurist Complex from the Futurist theatre and to maintain the structure of the Futurist theatre so as to ensure the maintenance of support and protection to the said retained parts.

Just like the revival of ballroom dancing, with the popularity of Strictly Ballroom, stage shows are attracting huge audiences.

Last week on a Sunday afternoon, I was at a pantomime at the end of a 10-week run in Stevenage (hardly a tourist resort!). The Gordon Craig Theatre was full to capacity; plus those in eating areas meant it was buzzing with about 1,000 people. This could potentially be the Futurist.

Frank Tugwell, the architect, took nearly a year to build the Futurist from September 1920 to June 1921. Until March 1921 all work was on the foundations and creation of rear terraces using 2,500 tons of concrete.

It’s to be hoped that the council were necessarily informed of the correspondence between Tugwell and the borough architect and engineer Harry W Smith and have studied Tugwell’s plans of the foundations prior to making the decision to demolish and stabilise.

Cllr Chance says, “severe wing space limitation” ... “make it impossible to take large-scale touring productions.” An examination of the wing space of 24 West End theatres putting on musicals shows the Futurist to rank at 13th in the list from size of large to small.

Cllr Chance states that the views of 68,000 ratepayers beyond the boundary of Scarborough town have not been considered. So let’s ask them whether they prefer a mini funfair, housing and council offices or the sixth largest theatre in the country by holding a referendum. This can be included with our annual rates statement.

Diana Tasker"

Significado de en muchos respectos to Ms Tasker and the StF's... an astonishing & outstanding community campaign.   

However, as if I recall there were 13 other 'forks' on the table that did not support the Save the Futurist plan.

Truth Hurts ...



Salvage & reclamation...


Captain Qahn's picture

The Only Way is ... SfX


"A centre dedicated to science fiction and fantasy - understood to be the first of its type in the UK - has been set up by a university.

Anglia Ruskin University, based in Chelmsford and Cambridge, will launch a masters degree in the subject in 2018.

Centre director Helen Marshall said the "current interest in alternative facts and George Orwell's 1984" made the subject "relevant".

It will also offer science fiction and fantasy modules for undergraduates.

The centre, which will be run within the university's English faculty, will officially open on Wednesday with 10 staff...."



Live the dream ...

Pinokhio :-)




A Big Cheeze


Would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses ...