‘Concern’ over lack of theatre dates

MP Robert Goodwill, and below, Barrie Stead, manager of the Futurist Theatre
MP Robert Goodwill, and below, Barrie Stead, manager of the Futurist Theatre

SCARBOROUGH’S MP has expressed “surprise and disappointment” after learning that no acts have yet been booked for this year’s season at the Open Air Theatre.

The Evening News revealed yesterday that Apollo Leisure, the venue’s operator, is still in negotiations with a number of entertainers but that nothing had been formally signed.

Barrie Stead, who runs the futurist theatre

Barrie Stead, who runs the futurist theatre

Robert Goodwill said yesterday: “The Elton John show was amazing and we thought that was a sign of things to come but unfortunately, it’s an empty diary so far.

“But we didn’t hear about the Elton show until quite late, so fingers crossed. That proved people will come but we do need a big name.

“Apollo must have known the sort of acts we needed when they got into bed with Scarborough Council. We really do need to see artists coming forward.”

Council leader Tom Fox is expected to give an update on the summer plans for the theatre when he addresses a full meeting of Scarborough Council on Monday.

Apollo Leisure chairman Paul Gregg has said that the company was forced to rethink its summer plans after 2,000 extra permanent seats were not installed, as had been planned. He has vowed that some events will be announced later this month.

Barrie Stead, who runs the Futurist Theatre, said that all venues were facing challenges in booking acts for the summer, although around half of The Futurist’s programme has been secured.

“I’m sure they’re trying hard to get it together but I know how hard it is,” Mr Stead said.

“One of the big problems has been the Olympic Games – I think promoters are being cautious because of that.

“But if you look at some of the Sunday papers you will see certain artists are already confirmed for shows in the summer, but unless they’re paid money up front they won’t come.

“They could attract any artist in the world to Scarborough if they paid them enough money, but you have to strike a balance.”