Business plan which will decide future of Ilford’s Kenneth More Theatre to be completed ‘very soon’

Steven Day at the Kenneth More Theatre

Steven Day at the Kenneth More Theatre - Credit: Archant

A long-awaited business plan that will determine the Kenneth More Theatre’s [KMT] future in Ilford will be delivered “very soon”, according to its manager.

The existing lease on the theatre in Oakfield Road expired in December 2011 and since then, Redbridge Council has called for its board to submit a plan before the lease is renewed.

Manager Stephen Day said he cannot give a “definite time” when it will be provided, but added: “The structure of it all is laid out, things to improve on, things to change.

“It’s down to me and Sally [Woodfield, the theatre’s business manager] now.”

And Mr Day said the plan will look to make “more use of the spaces in the theatre”, particularly its downstairs studio and exhibition foyer.

He said: “We still have times when they might be used for community groups.”

In November, the council’s overview committee questioned why the plan hadn’t been submitted and the “long-term viability” of the theatre “with its current offering” was also raised.

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But Mr Day said the delay over the plan had been because the theatre’s board “wanted it done properly”.

He added: “Our main house productions, we have masses of product there and it’s catering for everyone.

“We had a lot of children’s stuff over Easter. We’re sort of spreading our wings really, things we haven’t had before.

“We’re going into partnership with Jongleurs for a comedy night and we want to get some other genres in.”

Former theatre manager Vivyan Ellacott questioned the “business plan” approach. He said: “[The KMT] is a charity and it’s a service to the community. It’s a service in the same way a library, a museum, an art gallery is.”

Mr Day said the KMT will receive a subsidy from the council in 2013/14 and was waiting “on confirmation” on the funding level.

Redbridge Council did not respond to inquiries from the Recorder about the theatre’s subsidy and the negotiation of the lease.