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Lincoln Theatre Royal sold after previous owner goes into administration

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: September 20, 2012

Changing times: Lincoln Theatre Royal, in Clasketgate, has been bought by a new company called LTR Trading Limited

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Lincoln Theatre Royal has been sold after its previous owner found itself in thousands of pounds of debt.

The theatre, in Clasketgate, has been bought by a new company called LTR Trading Limited.

It comes after its previous owner, Lincoln Theatre Limited, was placed into administration.

It is hoped the move will secure the future of the venue.

However, it is claimed that some of the debt is "unlikely" to ever be paid off by the former owner.

Administrator Richard Saville, of business recovery experts Begbies Traynor Group, said: "I can confirm the assets of Lincoln Theatre Limited have been sold.

"Whether or not Lincoln Theatre Limited itself comes out of administration in due course – it is a case of maybe, maybe not.

"There is still a possibility Lincoln Theatre Limited could go into liquidation.

"There are several creditors of Lincoln Theatre Limited and at this stage I would say it is unlikely they will see their money again."

Records held by Companies House show Lincoln Theatre Limited was served with two County Court Judgements earlier this year.

One was for £2,812 and the other was for £6,547.

The theatre currently employs 12 full-time staff.

The chief executive of the theatre – and director of beleaguered Lincoln Theatre Limited – Ian Dickens, told the Echo last week: "The recession has been hard on all theatres and at times it has been difficult to keep our heads above water following some cost over-runs on our refurbishment.

"I believe the new owners' commitment to live theatre is demonstrated by the establishment of a repertory company able to produce new plays regularly to keep the theatre live and vibrant.

"I believe this sale provides the best outcome for all concerned. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

"There will no longer be big names such as Michael McIntyre coming to Lincoln but there will be a real emphasis on plays every night of the week. Some of these will feature local schools and that can only be a good thing.

"There are no jobs at risk at the theatre."

Speaking this week in response to claims that creditors would not be paid back, Mr Dickens added: "As the former owner, we are hoping to pay our creditors back. We are paying as we go. My intention is to get everyone paid and settled somewhere down the line – I cannot say when."

Mr Dickens is one of two directors of Lincoln Theatre Limited. The other is current theatre technical director Ian Marston.

Spokesperson for new owners LTR Trading Limited, Daniel Boyall, said: "We regard the purchase of Lincoln's Royal as an exciting opportunity to be involved in the local community and we are committed to keeping live theatre in the city."

In April, the Echo reported how acts which had performed at the theatre were still waiting to be paid. This week a member of a local amateur dramatics society, who wished to remain unnamed, told the Echo: "We are owed several thousands of pounds. We still have not received the money. I understand there are other people in a similar position."

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  • InsideStory  |  September 21 2012, 6:14PM

    Theatre Royal as lost out due to the Drill Hall being in direct competition but you still cant beat the Theatre Royal for the quaint and cosy atmosphere.

  • Hoolio  |  September 21 2012, 4:41PM

    How arrogant to say there won't be big name acts coming to Lincoln anymore - hasn't he seen what else Lincoln has to offer? We've got plenty of places to find entertainment thank you very much. Lincoln Drill Hall, Lincoln Performing Arts Centre and Engine Shed all bring big names to the city. Plus there are plenty of other smaller places with good gigs and events now.

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  • Gnome_Chomsky  |  September 20 2012, 8:31PM

    Danny046362 - You think Cannon and Ball will be back, but it clearly says there will no longer be big names coming to Lincoln. Oh, right. I see what you mean.

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  • M_C_Donald  |  September 20 2012, 12:30PM

    Simon, the new company has bought the assets and not the business and therefore not liable for the debts of the previous business.

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  • Danny046362  |  September 20 2012, 10:37AM

    To go into Admin then be sold so quickly it seems to me, it's a way of clearing debts by having no legal obligation to clear them in full. The administrators will have to pay of all HMRC debts first and debts with the bank and then if there's a pot of money left over there might be £1 for ever £10k owed.

  • Danny046362  |  September 20 2012, 10:36AM

    Depends, not if they only pay £1 for it. Does anyone know how much it was sold for?

  • Lincoln_Biker  |  September 20 2012, 10:33AM

    The Theatre Royal has been "on the rocks" for as many years as I care to remember. But with a line up of 4 productions from now until the 13th January and a history featuring classics such as Lincoln Wow Factor, Cannon and Ball and The Chuckle Brothers, its a miracle that the Theatre Royal has managed to keep open in the last decade.

  • simonlincs  |  September 20 2012, 10:24AM

    If you buy a company from someone else surely part of the deal should be that you agree to pay off the old creditor debt first because in effect those debts are part of the value of that company.If this 'new' company can afford to buy the theatre then surely they can afford to pay off the old debt first.

  • Danny046362  |  September 20 2012, 10:00AM

    It will be interesting to see what happens with the Theatre after the Panto. I would think that Canon and Ball will come back this year who ever owns the theatre. I think it is probably still Ian pulling the strings even if it has a new figure head. Just seems like a way of not paying creditors but still trading.

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  • simonlincs  |  September 20 2012, 9:39AM

    Oh no,where will cannon and ball find a job now ! They should turn it into student flats,that seems to be the only thing that makes money in lincoln....

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