Theatre bids for extended curfew

Open Air Theatre 102967n
Open Air Theatre 102967n

THE operators of Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre are seeking permission for a one-hour extension to its night-time curfew.

Apollo Resorts and Leisure, which runs the 6,500-seater venue on behalf of Scarborough Council, has applied to hold concerts or events at the theatre until 11pm - which it says will improve its ability to attract headline acts.

The conditions of its current planning permission, granted in 2008, include that “there shall be no amplified music and voice associated with concerts/events held at the Open Air Theatre between the hours of 10pm and 10am unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority”.

In its new application the company states: “This application seeks to allow the concerts or events at the Open Air Theatre to continue throughout the 2011 season for one hour beyond the existing consent, resulting in an 11pm terminal hour.

“It is important to reiterate the fact that this proposal is temporary in nature and will allow all concerned to fully assess the impacts of extending the hours of operation by a single hour in the evening.

“The 10pm finish time is considered too strict and does not correlate with the finishing time that would normally be expected of a large concert venue of this magnitude. This is consequently impacting upon the viability of the Open Air Theatre to attract headline acts, to maintain the profile of the destination as per the comments by the head of tourism and to justify the significant financial contribution that the council has made to the development.”

Plans for the theatre’s 2011 line-up are said to be at an “advanced stage”. Singer Michael Ball has already been confirmed and Dame Kiri te Kanawa has been linked with a return to the stage having starred alongside Jose Carreras at the venue’s official re-opening last summer.

Other events for the season could include an 80s night and a Last Night At The Proms.

The statement adds: “The applicant does not wish for any future events to overrun their allowed time and by granting temporary consent for an additional hour this will enable this issue to be resolved and will allow for the proper disbursement of the crowd. A later finish time also enables a later start time which is vastly important to accommodating a headline act and ensuring that the profile of the events are adult-aimed and are well-attended.

“It is respectfully requested that this application is approved on the basis that a temporary period to assess the impact of allowing an additional hour for performances during the evening is the only way to properly assess the impact upon the tourism function of Scarborough, the profile of North Bay, the town’s ability to encourage future investment and undermine the contribution that the council has already made to revitalising and redeveloping the site.”

The Open Air Theatre was originally opened in the early 1930s and finally closed its doors in 1986, remaining shut for more than 20 years before its £3.5 million transformation.