A new theatre is on the cards for Warrington as the town hall looks to increase footfall and produce a thriving arts scene.
The town’s cultural commission, which was set up following the failed City of Culture bid, has produced 15 recommendations after consulting the public.
Residents told the commission that they felt Warrington lacked a ‘cultural identity’, and many called for a new theatre – after the Crosfields Centenary Theatre closed in 1991.
Cllr Dan Price, executive board member for culture and partnerships on Warrington Borough Council, presented the ‘ambitious’ findings to members on Monday.
He said: “We now, after 27 years in the town without a theatre, have a strategy as to how we can deliver one – one that has to be sustainable and has a programme that suits the audience of the town.
“We’ve listened to the needs and expectations of our residents, and the town is on a very exciting journey ahead of us – something that will be to the benefit of all of our communities and visitors.”
Other recommendations include supporting youngsters looking to enjoy the arts – with cultural ambassadors in schools and youth groups, better guidance for arts careers and professional development for teachers.
A diverse culture board, an innovative contemporary arts programme and further investment are also recommended by the commission.
Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, executive board member for public health and wellbeing, said: “I remember before I came into the council people used to say to me ‘people don’t care about culture in Warrington’. That has never been the case.”
Cllr Terry O’Neill, leader of Warrington Borough Council, added: “We are missing a trick here because whether it’s tourism or events, there is a lot of money to be made out of culture.
“Certainly we’ve got a lot to be proud of in Warrington, and we should shout it from the rooftops as much as we can.”