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Mill Theatre Sale Settled


By Doug Clarke QSM

Wednesday 21st June, 2017


I am pleased to report that, late on Tue 20 June, the sale of the Mill Theatre to Loprinzi Properties was completed when Loprinzi paid the balance of the price and title was transferred to them.  Riccarton Players’ special home of 35 years has a new owner.  It is of note that it was June 1983 when the theatre opened its doors to the public for the first time after a year "getting ready for the big day" by yours truly, Stewart Robertson and others to transform it from part of the flour mill it had been.

The sale to Loprinzi has been achieved after several years of interested purchasers and shattered hopes.  It was not without challenge, having originally been expected to settle in November 2016.  It is fair to say that, more than once, we doubted that it would settle.  We should pay tribute to Mr Michael King (Loprinzi owner), whose vision for the restored Mill complex and dogged determination has meant he’s been able to overcome some tough obstacles in acquiring the property.  We are also grateful to those acting for our society who have spent hundreds of hours working towards this day, albeit with quite a bit of nostalgia.  Graeme Randle has led the Theatre Redevelopment Group (TRG) since it was formed by the Committee in April 2011.  Michelle and I were the other two members appointed to TRG and the three of us have survived, still talking to each other, more than six years later.  Phil Payton came on board as our legal advisor and, over the last year or two, Giles, as our President, has also made a valuable contribution as we’ve searched, and continue to search, for new premises.


A consequence of the sale is that we are required to clear out the theatre without delay.  That means everything!  We’ve booked a moving company for this Friday to transport rostra, flats, furniture and so on to another facility which has kindly been made available to us on a temporary basis.  The bigger job however is to clear out everything else – all the rubbish and stuff we don’t want to (or can’t) keep.  We’ve booked some big rubbish skips for Saturday and are still working on other arrangements for this activity.  We need help from members and we’ve also applied to the Student Volunteer Army to see if they can provide assistance.  More on this in the next couple of days, but please keep free as much of Saturday as you can.


So, it’s done.  We can finally say goodbye to The Mill Theatre.  We’ll miss her, loads of wonderful productions and events, memories abound for us - but we’re happy that she’ll live again to fulfil someone else’s dream.

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