Cheers to that: The Chalkboard 'pleased' after Key Theatre is saved


Hanna Spence and Andy Jones from the Chalkboard are pleased for the Key Theatre and look forward to staying their neighbour for at least the next 12 months.

It was a difficult Christmas for The Chalkbaord, community groups housed at the theatre venue as well as the Key Theatre staff, after Peterborough City Council (PCC) announced on December 16, that they are closing the Key Theatre and suspending the public access to Werrington Leisure Centre at Ken Stimpson Community School - as part of plans to manage the council’s dire financial situation.  

This news was greeted with criticism and heart-break as Peterborough residents slammed the council’s “short-sightedness " over “a tragic loss” to the city. 

On social media, the Save The Key Theatre’ group has reached over 2,000 members – who have been sharing memories of what the Key Theatre means to them. 

The Chalkboard café has been the Key Theatre’s neighbour since 2019 and has become a popular venue in Peterborough over the years. People were 'saddened' to know, it might be the end of the tearoom if Key Theatre shuts down. 

Last month following PCC's announcement, The Chalkboard management said: “Awful news about the Key Theatre, we only found out a couple of hours ago so still trying to process all the information.  We will fight to stay open and remain at the theatre.” 

But a month later, it has been confirmed the show will go on for the Key Theatre once again, after Operators of the New Theatre Peterborough in Broadway, Selladoor will be taking over the operations of Key for the next five years. 

PCC also confirmed on Wednesday (January 19), The Chalkboard restaurant and the Key Youth Theatre will both remain on site for at least the next 12 months.  

Reacting to the news, Andy Jones from The Chalkboard said: “So pleased to get some security – even if it’s for 12 months. We will take it. 

“It was a difficult Christmas for everyone down here – for us, for the theatre, the staff, everyone. 

“It has been a roller-coaster moment. It’s hard to run a business when you don’t know what the future holds - it has been touch-go. But we are pleased with the arrangement now. 

“Someone has come in and taken over and will be pushing to make it a success and I am sure they will.  

“We are an independent and we can run next door an open without the theatre but it’s not the same.  The whole building is important. 

“We opened in 2019. But all businesses have had a rough ride due to the pandemic and then the funding issues from the council haven't helped -The theatre has been unlucky – a lot of businesses were struggling. 

“But we are looking forward to planning and moving forward and hope the same for the theatre.  

“We are pleased that they have managed to sort something out and it’s great news for us.” 

The tearoom is open between Wednesday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Find out more here