Winter Gardens theatre in Morecambe finds twin in Moberly, Missouri, USA

Morecambe Winter Gardens.
Morecambe Winter Gardens.
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The Winter Gardens in Morecambe and Fourth Street Theater in Moberly, Missouri may be be thousands of miles apart but they are linked by a common cause.

Now the two theatres have come to a twinning arrangement which has been hailed by experts as unique in theatre history.

Fourth Street Theater in Moberly, Missouri.

Fourth Street Theater in Moberly, Missouri.

Both the Winter Gardens and its American counterpart are owned and run by 
volunteers, and both had uncertainfutures until they were purchased by preservation groups. Both aim to save the theatres for present and future generations.

The twinning came about after Old Theatres Magazine realised the two theatres had many similarities.

Carolee Hazlet from the Missouri theatre said: “I am very excited about the twinning of our theatres with the chance to compare accomplishments, goals and activities.

“I feel that the relationship ‘across the water’ will create a fantastic bonding and encourage others in both countries who are striving to save their theatrical heritages”.

Evelyn Archer, chairman of the Winter Gardens Preservation Trust, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to bits.”

Meanwhile the Winter Gardens is also celebrating after improving its rating on the annual Theatres at Risk Register.

The register is a list of 33 historic theatres in England and Wales at risk of closure, decay or irreversible change.

The Winter Gardens has improved to ninth ‘least at risk’ on the register with a rating of eight out of 10 after scoring particularly well on community use.

The past 12 months has seen the theatre host major events in the town including the Morecambe Variety and Vintage-by-the-Sea festivals. Mrs Archer said the Trust’s next aim was to install heating, hopefully by November.

Blackpool’s Winter Gardens Pavilionhas appeared on the register for the first time due to concerns over its leaky roof, despite a £21m plan to convert it into a museum.