A MUSIC venue could be saved from closure after a mystery benefactor stepped in with an 11th hour rescue package.
The Studio, in Tower Street, Hartlepool, looked as though it was going to the wall when it went into voluntary liquidation last month.
The premises, which were transformed from a former baptist church into an entertainment venue, had fallen victim to falling numbers and rising costs.
But talks with a group – as yet unidentified – are progressing well and bosses hope the building could be functioning again inside the next two weeks.
Phil Swinburne, chairman of The Studio’s trustees, said: “Things look great and hopes are high.
“Those we are talking to will be a safe pair of hands and someone we would love to work with. They seem spot on with what they are looking to do.
“So the show is still on the road, and God willing it will be back up and running in two weeks.
“But nothing is certain. Talks are ongoing and it is too early to make any announcements or reveal who we are talking to.”
His joyful mood is a far cry from the dark cloud that fell over The Studio on April 12 when the decision was made to lock the doors and five full-time staff members lost their jobs.
But the trustees refused to call it a day, and have faced a race against time to find a lifeline.
They had until April 28 to find a backer as that is when they were due to hand the building’s keys over to administrators.
That deadline passed after they managed to get an extension using the £500 left in the venue’s coffers, but they have no more money to bail The Studio out again when the latest deadline runs out in two weeks time.
Phil added: “It would have been easy to walk away and just say ‘that’s it’.
“But we didn’t want to do that, so we have put in a huge amount of work to try and keep it going.
“None of us are the types to be dealing with administrators and things like that, but we are and hopefully it will pay off.
“We have two weeks and I think that will be it. We had £500 and some coppers from the tills, but that has all gone.
“Hopefully we will have some good news to announce before then.”