Campaigners will host a public meeting to capitalise on the support from funnyman Lenny Henry to secure a future for the under-threat Dudley Hippodrome.
Group members thanked the popular Dudley-born comic for his support for their campaign to reopen the Hippodrome as a leading arts and theatre venue.
Henry spoke of his wish for the Dudley Hippodrome to be used as a launch pad for the careers of up and coming performers from the town. It came on his return to his hometown to receive the Freedom of the Borough accolade last week.
Members of the Friends of Dudley Hippodrome group are planning a public meeting on October 20 at The Station Hotel, in Castle Hill, opposite the landmark theatre building.
Group chairman Geoff Fitzpatrick said they were still seeking talks promised by Dudley Council officials after moves to demolish the site were deferred.
Councillors on the authority’s planning committee demanded more details from officials and further discussions with interested parties when the plans were put on hold in August.
The friends group is inviting councillors to attend the meeting which starts at 6.30pm, saying it is the perfect opportunity to have a proper debate over the Hippodrome.
Mr Fitzpatrick said it was important to make progress on the future of the building coming almost two years since the campaign was started by fellow enthusiast Malcolm Palmer.
“We are asking councillors to come in and learn the truth about that building and work with us,” he said. “We wanted to hold a public meeting because it is time we started to move forward.
“I just hope the councillors will take up the offer this time.
“Lenny was great and we are grateful for him speaking about the campaign. We have still not met again with the council officials which is surprising seeing as the councillors said there needed to be further discussions.”
Lenny Henry, speaking before his investiture ceremony at Dudley Town Hall, used the opportunity to back the campaigners.
He said: “It would be fantastic if there was a theatre or an arts centre in Dudley to encourage talented people to pursue careers in acting, singing, dancing, visual arts and even comedy.
“I believe there is a venue which we are talking about now which we are trying to preserve.”