York, UK 30 August 2017: The board of trustees of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Limited is delighted to announce that it has bought the premises of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre from York St John University, which itself bought the theatre from Nestlé in 2012.

Since the creation of the charity’s management board in 2001, the building has been run by its team of volunteers. Both of the theatre’s previous owners have acted as very supportive landlords of the venue, but the day to day operation and the financial upkeep have been managed by the theatre’s board of trustees.  

Dan Shrimpton, Chair of Trustees of The Joseph Rowntree Theatre said:  “The operation of the theatre going forward will not change; however taking ownership of the building allows the charity to plan now for longer term significant improvements to the theatre.”

Professor Karen Stanton, Vice Chancellor of York St John University said: “This sale brings mutual benefits, making it easier for the theatre to act independently, whilst releasing resources for the university to invest in our students.  York St John has a longstanding positive relationship with the trustees, which will continue in the future.  We wish them all the best in taking ownership of one of the city’s favourite venues”.

The purchase of the building's freehold has been made possible by the generosity of all those who have supported the theatre over recent years, either by making donations or by attending fundraising events. The charity is also indebted to one of its former stewards, Mr Henry G Mills, who generously bequeathed a legacy to the charity.  “The charity is planning to develop the venue, building on its already enviable equipment, facilities and reputation, by improving the public areas of the theatre. The theatre will continue to be a valuable community facility, run by the community for the community.” Dan explained.

Key Facts:

The Joseph Rowntree Theatre is a beautiful art deco style theatre which was built in 1935.  It was built by the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust (now the Joseph Rowntree Foundation) as a venue to provide great quality, reasonably-priced entertainment for the people of York.  Today, now run by the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Limited, a registered charity, it is the venue of choice of more than 30 local performing groups, and is staffed by more than 150 passionate volunteer supporters, both front of house and backstage.  The huge range of shows produced by its hirers stretches from musical theatre to ballet, opera to pantomime, and brass bands to traditional drama. The theatre operates without external funding. Since 2001 more than £340,000 has been invested, by the charity, in the upgrading and upkeep of its facilities, with auditorium refurbishment and the installation of up to date sound and lighting systems. The most recent major improvement was the implementation, in May 2016, of a new box office system. This allows for a 24 hour online ticketing service, with in person or telephone booking at the venue six days a week.

The Joseph Rowntree Theatre Limited
Haxby Road
YO31 8TA

For more information:
Dan Shrimpton
Image Courtesy Nick Lay