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Popular Northampton theatre will not be affected by Jesus Army closure

Website: Northampton Chronicle and Echo
Date: 29/05/2019
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The bosses of the Deco Theatre in Northampton have reassured the town that it will be business as usual despite the Jesus Army announcing plans to disband.

The Deco Theatre opened in the early 2000s when the Jesus Army bought and converted the former ABC Cinema on the corner of Abington Square.

Now run by Moulton-based Stage Right Productions, it shares a 900-seat auditorium with the Jesus Centre and hosts a regular roster of plays, pantos comedians and touring bands.

Stage Right - run by husband and wife team Kevin and Jill Roach - has leased the theatre space for the past 10 years.

But yesterday's announcement that the church of the Jesus Army was to disband prompted social media rumours that the Deco Theatre would also be forced to close.

Spokesman, for the Deco, Peter Jones has confirmed this is not the case.

He said the lease would not be affected in any way and the theatre would continue to run as normal.

"It is a family-run theatre that has nothing to do with the Jesus Army," he added. "It has been in the town for 10 years and it will continue to serve the town for many more years to come."

The 1969-formed Jesus Army issued a statement yesterday stating that the weight of historical abuse allegations against it had prompted the senior leadership team to revoke the church's constitution.

However, a spokesman for the religious organisation has now confirmed that Jesus Centres across the country will continue to run under a charitable trust.

The centres provide support and advice for asylum seekers, the homeless and those with drug and alcohol addictions - though it is unclear whether the charity will break the association with the Jesus Army over time. The centre in Abington Square, for example, plays host to Jesus Army church congregations and the religious sect's annual conference.

The spokesman said: "These (centres) are operated by the charity - Jesus Centres Trust. The charity is separate to the church. It is continuing to run and there are no current plans to close it."