I WAS saddened to read in a recent letter to the Evening News, that the Futurist had been denied listed status. If we lost this place we would be losing a major touring theatre. Don’t tell me it’s ok, we have the new Spa Grand Hall Theatre. The Spa will never, ever be anything but a “tarted-up” concert hall. The main seating area on the ground floor is all on the flat, as you’d find in any meeting hall. In a theatre, the seats are “raked”, with the seating rising toward the back of the stalls. The upper galleries at the Spa, both left and right, each seat about 250 persons who will have the joy of watching the show over their shoulder, as these seats are at right angles to the stage. Of these 250 seats, 90 are restricted view, making a total of 180 seats which I trust will be sold at a substantially reduced price.
I almost forgot to mention that there is no wing space beside the stage, added to which there is no fly tower. The Futurist has comfortable raked seating, wing space, a large stage, a counter-balanced fly tower and of the 2,150 seats, only 32 have restricted view. The council was obviously led by the nose when told that these venues were competing for the same shows. What utter balderdash! Imagine what it would be like if the Futurist had a few million thrown at it. What a splendid venue it would be. Far, far better than the Spa will ever be. It would seem the council is hell-bent on developing the Futurist site and, if it does, let’s hope it doesn’t affect the stability of the surrounding land including Blands Cliff, Prospect Place or even King Street.
Finally, I am delighted to read in the Evening News, July 19, that the Futurist is now on the Theatres Trust 2011 “at risk” register and I send Patricia David my good wishes in her fight to save the Futurist.