THE DEMOLITION of the former Peter Black complex will leave a leading Keighley theatre group homeless.

Keighley Musical Theatre Company has launched an urgent search for new premises to rehearse their popular annual pantomimes and musicals.

The volunteer-run group, formerly Keighley Amateurs, is based in Airedale Mill where its dozens of adult and child members are currently rehearsing October musical Oliver!.

The group stresses it has contingency plans to ensure its forthcoming productions – which also include pantomime Cinderella and musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – can go ahead as planned.

But it needs to find a new permanent base before it is evicted from the mill building off Lawkholme Lane to make way for the wrecking ball.

KMTC were recently told by developers MCR Property Group about their plans to flatten most of the Airedale Mill site and replace it with much-needed business units.

MCR this month submitted a planning application for the demolition, saying it hoped to begin work this autumn, and submit a further planning application in late 2019 for the wider development of the site.

KMTC spokesman David Brett this week that members were not objecting to the proposals because they recognised large-scale development might be of great benefit to Keighley.

But he said it was essential the group finds suitable space to its two large-scale productions, which are performed at nearby Victoria Hall.

He said: “Given that we are an amateur society (we all do it for free) and we want to put most of our ticket income back into the shows, we obviously need a rehearsal space at reasonable rates.

“We use the rehearsal rooms for most of the year, mostly on an evening and Saturday mornings so we are asking for people’s help in find us a new base.

“We need a large space, around 40’ x 25’ plus a small office/storage area with toilets and kitchen type facilities. We would prefer exclusive use with our own keys for access.

“The cast of our shows is often around 45 strong with members of all ages. The rehearsals are very well supervised – we would be very good tenants!”

Louise Barton, Chairman of KMTC, said the society had recently celebrated its centenary, and during that time had used several different rehearsal venues.

She added: We very much hope that we are able to find a new base which will enable us to continue the tradition of providing the very best entertainment in Keighley.”

Anyone who can help KMTC find a new base should contact Mark Remde by emailing or calling 07834 243031.