TRINITY THEATRE is celebrating its 35th anniversary with the news that it has secured an extended lease on the site of the former Holy Trinity Church for a further 35 years.
It has agreed terms with the landlord, the Diocese of Rochester, to continue its lease on the building on Church Road after two years of talks.
The new deal will allow the tenants to apply for a grant of around £300,000 to carry out repair work on the cultural venue, which was designed by the town’s celebrated architect, Decimus Burton, and was built in 1829.
This is the third lease that Trinity Theatre’s has been granted. The first began in 1977 after the place of worship had become ‘redundant to pastoral needs’ three years before.
After a petition by the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society, an initial fundraising effort by the borough and county councils and the Arts Council raised £50,000 in six months to stop the building being demolished. It then took five years for the Trinity Theatre Club (TTC) to be up and running.
The second lease was signed in 1996, which allowed TTC to apply successfully for Lottery funding of £500,000 and carry out substantial upgrades.
The extended lease permits a further application to the Heritage Lottery Fund in order to carry out repairs to the stonework, roof structure and glass.
Trinity’s Executive Director, Alex Green, said: “I am excited we were able to agree with the owners that Trinity is a suitable tenant to carry on preserving the building, which will in turn allow the charity to continue its mission to provide a cultural and community destination for the people of Tunbridge Wells and beyond.”
“They are very happy with what we put on here, and that we are serving the community. They have no input or regulation regarding the content of what we provide, but any changes to the building are a different matter.
He added: “We’ve had a surveyor come in to oversee how we manage the building, which is grade II listed, and we want to make sure it’s done in the right way.
“You need a long-term lease to guarantee your future, in order to be compliant for funding. If you’re going to close down and the building became derelict then the grant would be wasted.
“We had five years left and we were looking for 20 or 25 more years but they offered us 35, the longest they’ve ever given, so we’re very pleased about that.”