Theatres: one single strategy is required

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AS ONE of the few musicians to have worked at every theatrical venue in Scarborough since 1985, but also as a performer with a touring group on every stage (with the exception of the Stephen Joseph Theatre) for many miles in every direction, I am very familiar with the theatre per se.

There is a common denominator that links the Futurist, Open Air Theatre and the latest Spa refurbishment, only four years after the previous millions that were spent on Sea Change in 2007, and that is the consultant.

Let’s once and for all realise that the Spa Grand Hall in its current format cannot possibly be a fully versatile theatrical entertainment space, and to be such the cost may prove prohibitive.

The Open Air Theatre could be a success but again in the current format, and it has absolutely nothing to do with increasing numbers by 2,000, cannot work to capacity.

Unfortunately, Elton John set the benchmark and who else could sell out that number of tickets at that price? Try and think of any musician on their own, and that is now the problem any company will have.

People have said to me Take That would sell out, but I wonder who would be prepared to pay £450 to £500 a ticket, because they want to make as much profit as from a 40,000-seat stadium, for every show.

The Futurist works, but is very tired. It has been starved of the right level of investment for many years.

I worked there whilst under the theatre management of Apollo, with buckets catching water on the stage and carpeted areas sodden despite the efforts of the then manager and his staff.

Barrie and Brenda Stead are doing amazing things against a backdrop of apathy from some and the real enthusiasm of others.

Scarborough Council, we are a seaside town not a town by the sea, visitors contribute millions of pounds to the local economy and for those non-drivers who cannot get a bus or a train in the evening, we must at least be able to enable Barrie and Brenda to attract the shows to convince them to stay locally.

To the consultants – if they have got it wrong, they should compensate accordingly.

Finally, if the council, Apollo or anyone else would listen I would give suggestions – free, you never know, they might just be right.

Spend money on the Futurist and rename it the Jimmy Savile Futurist Theatre, is there a finer tribute?

Brian Pilsbury

Garfield Road

Scarborough