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Grantham Dramatic Society moves into ideal new home

A Grantham drama group has moved into a new home on Westgate which will allow it to grow and plan for the future.

It is also hoped Grantham Dramatic Society’s (GDS) new town centre space will become a focal point for the arts and creativity in the Grantham area.

GDS has had its own premises in Grantham for many years, most recently at The Old Malthouse on Springfield Road, which the performing arts group occupied for 15 years, but the venue lacked space, had no kitchen and had poor access for people with disabilities.

Grantham Dramatic Society is settling into its new home on Westgate. Frim left are committee members Mark Brown, Geraldine Lee and Lis Connor. (9801654)
Grantham Dramatic Society is settling into its new home on Westgate. Frim left are committee members Mark Brown, Geraldine Lee and Lis Connor. (9801654)

In consultation with property owners Buckminster, the former Market Café premises on Westgate were identified as a potential home. The building was previously used as an indoor market. GDS proposed that the building should be split, and a separate premises created at the rear to be occupied by the society.

GDS treasurer Mark Brown said: “As the group has grown over the years, we’ve simply run out of space. A new chapter for GDS now opens, and hopefully for the arts scene in Grantham.

“This new space has so many benefits for us, from being able to have a full kitchen to having a rehearsal area that’s large enough to replicate the stage at the Guildhall Arts Centre, where we mainly perform.

“Our vision is to open the space up to other arts and music groups in Grantham for low-cost hire, and create a hub for the visual and performing arts in the area. Eventually, we even hope to put on performances of our own.”

Charlotte Colston, estate land agent for Buckminster, said: “We’re delighted to support Grantham Dramatic Society to bring this large building back into use. By separating the rear of the building we’ve been able to let the café which will bring a great new business to the town centre.

“Buckminster has a long-standing commitment to the development of Grantham’s town centre and the community as a whole. This project is a great example of that.”

Mark added: “Without Buckminster engaging with our idea and its continued support this project wouldn’t have been possible, and we want to take this opportunity to offer them our sincere thanks.”

The society is raising money to renovate the new space and says it will need between £15,000 and £20,000 over the next few years to completely transform the building for its needs.

GDS chairperson Geraldine Lee said: “Our members have been working tirelessly to get renovation works under way but there is a huge amount still to do, and we’re hoping that the community will get behind us.

“That’s why we’re launching a fund-raising campaign to help meet the costs of creating the brilliant new space.

“We’ve opened a new online donation page on our website and any contribution – large or small – is warmly welcomed. Alternatively, cheques made payable to Grantham Dramatic Society can be sent to 85 Westgate.

“We also invite people to donate their time to the building project, especially people with trade skills. And if you have any spare change or leftover foreign money (even pre-Euro currency), our friends at Café Leo on Westgate will be happy to accept them on our behalf. Businesses are also invited to get in touch about sponsorship opportunities. All donations will be recognised on a permanent board in the new venue, online and in our programmes, along with other benefits.”

GDS is planning a drop-in opening event on July 26, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm, to which anyone interested in the project is invited. You can find out more, or contribute to the fund-raising campaign, at www.granthamdramaticsociety.co.uk

Tickets for their current production, Ladies Day by Amanda Whittington, are on sale from the Guildhall Arts Centre on 01476 406158.

GDS welcomes new members and encourages people of all backgrounds who are interested in being creative and making new friends to get in touch.

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