Councillor urges caution before dismissing Dudley Hippodrome as a 'lost cause'

A Dudley Councillor has urged caution before a decision is made to demolish Dudley Hippodrome.

Conservative councillor, Shaun Keasey, who represents Sedgley Ward, believes the building on Castle Hill could and should become a centre for performance and art in the borough. Cllr Keasey said:

"Art, music and performance has been a vital part of my life, from playing in The Dudley Schools Symphony Orchestra and Dudley Metropolitan Brass Band back in the 1980's to gaining a degree in music and having the honour of being voted Dudley Young Musician of the Year.

"I want people across Dudley to have the opportunities I enjoyed and as an authority I believe we need to encourage involvement in music and the arts, allowing people the opportunity to express themselves and create.

"Dudley has some fantastic venues and town halls, but how wonderful would it be to have a bespoke music, art and performance hub where local and national talent is showcased.

"In my opinion The Hippodrome could be that hub and maybe, as an authority, it should be us taking the lead, finding the funding and developing the project to create what should be an iconic building and centre."

The derelict venue on Castle Hill was, in it's heyday, a 1,752 seat venue - one of the largest theatres in the region. It played host to acts including Judy Garland and Laurel and Hardy before closing in the 60s. Various groups have tried to re-establish it as a performance space in the borough with ideas ranging from a music and arts venue to a viable receiving theatre for major UK tours.

Applications to take on the site close this month with expressions of interest open to anyone with a serious business plan.


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