No acts likely to be announced for another month

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THE summer programme at Scarborough’s crisis-hit Open Air Theatre is not expected to be unveiled for at least another month.

Apollo Leisure, the operator of the £3.5 million venue, has insisted it has a full set of events ready to launch, but says it is unable to reveal what they are with only months to go before the venue is due to reopen.

Paul Gregg, chairman of Apollo Leisure, said yesterday: “We are still in positive discussions with the council.

“The full programme is prepared and ready to go, and I would say it is an exciting programme.

“My view is that I don’t think it will be announced until mid-March.”

The schedule had originally been due to be revealed in November, but was pushed back until late January.

It was delayed once again with Apollo blaming Scarborough Council, which owns the theatre, for not providing the “assurances” or “support” which would allow it to make the announcement.

Scarborough Council, which expressed “surprise” at the Apollo accusations last month, said yesterday afternoon that it did not want to comment on news of the further delay.

But Cllr David Jeffels, who holds the council’s cabinet portfolio for tourism, expressed his disappointment after learning that no shows are likely to be revealed for another month.

He also said that the local authority was attempting to secure its own acts to perform the theatre, alongside the events which will eventually be staged by Apollo.

He said: “It is disappointing that the program has again slipped, however, I do hope that when the programme is announced it proves to be well worth waiting for.

“In the meantime the council is negotiating a number of productions independently which will supplement the programme planned by Apollo.

“I can assure people that there will be a programme of entertainment at the theatre and it will have appeal.”

Also reacting to the news, Scarborough Council cabinet member Bill Chatt said: “I’m just amazed to be honest. We’re a seaside town and this is one of our main assets. I’m shocked.

“You look at venues like the Futurist and they’re prepared months in advance. When they had Calendar Girls on you couldn’t look anywhere without seeing some promotion.

“People are willing to travel. I’m going to see Mrs Brown’s Boys in September in Manchester and we bought the tickets in December. What’s the chances of that happening with Apollo?

“We have a great venue, but it seems we don’t know what’s on until the day before.”