York & North Yorkshire

Opinion divided on future of Scarborough's Futurist Theatre

Futurist Theatre, Scarborough
Image caption The site of the Futurist (pictured above in 1960) first began to be used for entertainment back in 1903
Futurist Theatre, Scarborough
Image caption The Futurist is situated in an area in Scarborough, which includes the Town Hall, that is earmarked for redevelopment

Scarborough's Futurist Theatre has entertained tens of thousands of people over its 92-year history and won a place in the hearts of many of the town's residents and regular visitors.

The venue, which seats more than 2,000 people, has played host to legendary acts including the Beatles, Morecambe and Wise, Shirley Bassey and Ken Dodd since it opened in 1921.

However, to others the Futurist is little more than a seashore eyesore, prime for demolition and redevelopment.

And, after its doors closed for what may be the last time on Sunday, its supporters and detractors took to social media sites to have their say.

Victoria Rice-Heaps wrote on BBC Look North's Facebook page, saying: "Very sad, and we have lost a piece of history."

Laine Glover wrote: "A great, atmospheric place! Shame."

Dozens of others came forward to name the acts and entertainers they had seen perform over the years, including Val Doonican, Michael Barrymore, Gary Barlow and Cannon and Ball.

Cathy Ingledow wrote: "Have laughed till tears streamed down my face, at the antics of Ken Dodd, not once but many times."

Alan Hopkins said: "I saw the Beatles there - the Fab Four. Waste of time paying for a seat when over 2000 people were standing and waving and shouting. What a fabulous night."

Others took time to slam the theatre, branding it ugly.

Liam McCausland said: "Glad its gone. Its an eyesore that will soon be underwater. The council chose the open air theatre and the spa. Good on them."

Andrew Lawson wrote: "An eyesore, hopefully some nice apartments in its place."

The future of the theatre now hangs in the balance.

Scarborough Borough Council has agreed to mothball the venue for three months to allow time for a potential operator to come forward.

Campaign group Save our Futurist has announced it hopes to put together a business plan and £3m regeneration package in time to rescue the building.

If no viable operator comes forward the theatre will be closed permanently, paving the way for redevelopment of the site as part of a wider project to develop land between Foreshore Road and St Nicholas Street, including the town hall.

The site of the Futurist first began to be used for entertainment back in 1903 when the Kiralphi Brothers' Arcadia Theatre opened.

In 1912, the Palladium Picture House opened up next door.

In 1920, the Arcadia closed and was demolished to make way for the Futurist, which operated as a cinema and then a theatre until, after one final screening, the shutters went up.

Do you have memories of a performance at the Futurist? Send your pictures to leeds@bbc.co.uk and we'll feature the best.

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