warren-hitchinThe Electric Palace, Bridport’s prestigious live entertainment venue, has new owners – a local family from West Dorset.

Under its new manager, Susan Warren, who grew up in West Dorset and went to   school in Dorchester, the Electric Palace will continue as a venue for great music, live comedy and film, whilst expanding its range of events for families, children, and older members of the Bridport and West Dorset community.

Since 2003 the Electric Palace has been owned by Peter Hitchin, who bought it after it had been closed for several years.  Subsequently, he was instrumental in gaining the patronage of Sir Richard Eyre, Ralph Steadman, Julian Fellowes and Mike Leigh, amongst others.

Susan said: “We want to build on what Peter has achieved but also embrace new opportunities for the Electric Palace, so that it will continue to be at the forefront of entertainment in the area.

“The Electric Palace is a very special place.  We want to further restore and refurbish it over the next two to three years, whilst preserving its unique character and charm. The Electric Palace belongs to the community, we just put on the shows for everyone to enjoy.

“I’m delighted that all the staff will remain and we look forward to working alongside them to continue to deliver great entertainment.”

Peter Hitchin, who owns and runs Symondsbury Manor, said: “There were a surprising number of people who wanted to own the venue and I am glad that it has gone to someone who has local roots and who intends to continue to run the Electric Palace with a varied programme of music, comedy and film.

“Together with my children, Gideon and Gabrielle, I’ve loved running the place. I will certainly miss all the excitement involved but the venue will profit from an injection of new enthusiasm and ideas which I am confident that Susan and her family will provide.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff and stewards who have helped make the Electric Palace such a success over the last ten years and I am looking forward to seeing the Electric Palace continue to grow and reflect all that is great about Bridport and West Dorset.”

Forthcoming events include monthly comedy networks with up-and-coming, young comedians fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe circuit, screenings of National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company productions, live music including a show by Broadchurch composer Olafur Arnalds, followed by the screening of the hit TV series’ finale on 23 February, and a programme of free events for children over half-term.

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