Tyne Theatre & Opera House Preservation Trust boss stands down

Malcolm Dix has taken his final bow as Chairman of the Tyne Theatre & Opera House Preservation Trust

Malcolm Dix
Malcolm Dix

The man who has led the group trying to save a listed theatre on Tyneside is to step down from his role after more than 12 years.

Malcolm Dix has taken his final bow as chairman of the Tyne Theatre & Opera House Preservation Trust.

He is one of only three of the original trustees still on the board, and had been chairman since the formation of the trust 12 years ago.

The trust became the owner of the Opera House in 2008, after being transferred from Newcastle City Council.

The theatre is leased by SMG, who also run the nearby Newcastle Arena, while the Chinese Community lease an ICT centre within the building from the trust.

Two bids for Heritage Lottery Funding to restore the theatre to its full glory have been unsuccessful and the trust is currently planning how to move forward on its next bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Newcastle's Tyne Theatre and Opera House
Newcastle's Tyne Theatre and Opera House
 

Mr Dix, who has never missed a meeting of the trust during his 12 years as chairman, has agreed to become a vice president, adding his name to an impressive list of local luminaries that includes Sting, Alan Shearer and Ant and Dec.

He said: “It has been a wonderful experience to be involved with this amazing theatre and to see it now out of risk. I am sure it will not be long before the trust can proceed to carry out the work to give it a new lease of life.

“I am handing over to a very capable custodian in Frank Lloyd as the new chairman.”

The Tyne Theatre and Opera House is a Grade I listed building with key elements of outstanding national importance including the lavish auditorium and wooden stage machinery.

It opened in 1867 and was designed by William B Parnell for politician and industrialist Joseph Cowen, and likely funded by the Blaydon Brickworks.

The theatre converted to a cinema in the early 20th Century but closed in the 1970s, sparking the first campaign to save the building. The theatre re-opened in 1977 but ran into difficulties again in the 1980s and struggled to survive until being bought by the city council in 2008 and then passed to the preservation trust.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer