Open Air Theatre: who’s looking at the issues?

The Open Air Theatre is back in the Scarborough Evening News again, with more complaints about the commercial vehicle access, or lack of it, not to mention the lack of shows again this year.

I feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness, but I know the SEN message board is full of people saying the same things as me.

No-one in power or authority seems prepared to listen.

Had the council listened to the theatre experts, of whom there are a lot in Scarborough, they would not have done what they did in the way in which they did it. It was never going to work and unless major changes are made to the infrastructure at immense expense, and the way in which the whole venue is operationally managed, or to put it more accurately, not managed, it never will work in the way in which they believed it was going to. One of those theatre experts with over 20 years experience, was heard to say on Thursday, whilst setting up for the 80s night, that the distance equipment had to be carried between the trucks and the stage was much too great and “is not for the faint-hearted”.

Yet the council’s Head of Tourism denied that that was the case. The latter’s lack of knowledge and experience of the industry almost certainly reflects that of the whole council, and it is the cause of all the problems. When did they last hump heavy flight cases and music equipment and/or scenery on load-in and load-out in large arenas? Did they actually consult with experienced operational technical managers with the relevant production experience, or do any operationally relevant research into how the whole theatre access needs to operate? It would appear that they acted on their own non-experience to make assumptions which informed their decision making.

At the Last Night of the Proms, Aled Jones mentioned about it being cold without a roof. The same concert over two nights at the Futurist would have attracted two full houses (4,300), and people would have been warm.

I applaud the belief in the need to promote the Open Air Theatre in order to make it work, but I fear that in its present incarnation it needs a council rethink.

Simon Lovelace

Filey Road

Scarborough