The Lubetkin Theatre Officially Opened

The Lubetkin Theatre, at East Durham College, was officially opened by Sasha Lubetkin, daughter of Russian born architect, Berthold Lubetkin.

Berthold Lubetkin was a leading modernist architect of the 20th Century and was commissioned to be master planner and chief architect for Peterlee new town only to find his vision mired in red tape and bureaucratic opposition.

Sasha Lubetkin told the audience, “I’m immensely proud that this beautiful theatre has been named after my father and that his work is remembered in spite of the brutal way it ended.

“He had such dreams for Peterlee, he wanted to turn it into the miners capital of the world. His respect and admiration of the miners made him want to create something really special that didn’t exist anywhere else but unfortunately that wasn’t possible.

“It was such a wonderful surprise to me to be able to come and perform this ceremony today and I know my father would be thrilled to see this wonderful college and this beautiful theatre baring his name. Thank you East Durham College and may the wind blow in your sails.”

The £2m theatre was built as part of the new state-art-the-art Peterlee campus. The impressive purpose-built theatre has a 220 seat auditorium, which is fitted with retractable seating and demountable stage increasing the flexibility of the facility, making it ideal not only for theatre and music productions but also film screenings, presentations, award ceremonies and conferences.

Music at the opening was performed by the Eden String Quartet and also by students from East Durham College’s Performing Arts Department; Emma Smith, 17, from Blackhall, Laura Fulcher, 17, from Thornley and Felicity Brand, 19, from Peterlee.

Ian Prescott, College Principal and Chief Executive said, “I believe if Berthold Lubetkin was still alive today he would be delighted. He would be delighted because within the new East Durham College, he would find many of the facilities he had planned and felt the area deserved.

“Our new theatre will host drama, music, film and dance performances and we intend for it to become an important part of life within the district. It was Lubetkin’s belief that the people of East Durham should have access to quality theatre and cultural experiences, and it’s a belief I share.”