Great Britain

Blue plaque plans lodged for Spennymoor’s historic Everyman Theatre

PLANS have been lodged to erect a blue plaque marking the legacy of a historic theatre.

Earlier this year, Durham County Council received a listed building consent application for the Everyman Theatre off O’Hanlan Street, in Spennymoor, County Durham.

Planning documents state the grade II-listed building was constructed in 1939 and is a “relatively rare example of such a building in County Durham.”

Known as the Spennymoor Settlement Everyman Theatre, the site hosts a theatre stage and hall with sound and lighting equipment.

New proposals aim to inform the public of the site’s colourful history with a plaque installed to the left of the main entrance.

According to information on the theatre’s website, the site was built by ‘out-of-work miners’ to provide a venue for the Everyman Theatre Company, which still exists today.

Over the years, the group have produced several ‘socially significant plays’ in the community venue.

A key physical feature of the building is a stone sculpture on the front from Tisa Hess representing the faces of comedy and tragedy masks.

Although this has since been replaced by a replica, the original sculpture has been mounted inside the theatre for its preservation.

A heritage statement submitted with blue plaque plans reads: “The proposed works consist of the erection of a commemorative blue plaque in accordance with the submitted detail to the left of the main entrance above the oblong window to ensure that it is visible from public vantage points and also relates well to other architectural details of the building.  The proposal follows well established principles of erecting such plaques nationally to signify notable people, buildings, events or a combination of all.

“The site takes the form of a single building within an enclosed landscape setting accessed via adjacent residential development from the highway network

“It is located in the centre of the town and adjacent to a major traffic junction.  The site is raised above the land to the east with a retaining wall to Low Grange Road affording open views of the side elevation.  

“The site itself is relatively well contained and the only impact associated with the proposal relates to a minor change of appearance. 

“Whilst the proposal will bring about minor visual changes, this is intentional and positive change.  The proposals are considered to be in accordance with the guidance offered in the National Planning Policy Framework and emerging policy. 

“It is concluded that the impact will be positive as the plaque will help explain the significance of the site without harming any significant fabric, it is also fully reversible.”

Durham County Council’s planning authority is expected to rule on the plans by the end of October.

For more information, visit durham.gov.uk/article/8276/Find-a-planning-application and search planning reference DM/20/01964/LB.

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