Theatre to remain in the spotlight

100332d''The Futurist Theatre
100332d''The Futurist Theatre
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SCARBOROUGH’S Futurist Theatre will showcase big names until at least 2013 – despite the absence of a key plan to help drive its existence forward.

The iconic seaside venue will stay in lights even though proposals for a People’s Trust to run it have yet to materialise.

Scarborough Council’s cabinet yesterday unanimously agreed to extend the theatre’s longevity at the same time a supporters’ trust business plan was postponed on the grounds it was “not feasible” at present.

The decision comes as the Futurist prepares to welcome two sell-out shows by Scottish comedian Billy Connolly in January and a six-day run of the West End spectacular Dreamboats in February.

Singer Peter Andre will also perform at the venue in November.

Cllr David Jeffels, the council’s portfolio holder for tourism, said the theatre was woven deep within the fabric of Scarborough’s tourism industry.

Cllr Jeffels, who stood as chairman of the Futurist Task Group last year, said: “I think it was right we went down the road of looking at a People’s Trust because of the enthusiasm shown by supporters.

“Unfortunately, it did not come to be but I am grateful for all of the work that Patricia David has put in and her aspirations for the Futurist.

“It is also absolutely right that we extend Barrie Stead’s agreement as it will give him an opportunity to book big stars which can only be good for Scarborough.

“The last thing we want is the Futurist boarded up, that would be disastrous.”

A draft development brief for the Futurist site is due to be discussed for public consultation early next year.

However, cllr Colin Challen, who represents Castle ward, said he had strong reservations about a “homogeneity” of attractions on the site which could dilute its eminence.

However, David Archer, the council’s strategic director, responded: “It is the jewel of the site and there needs to be some iconic and thoughtful developing of the it.”

Speaking last month, Futurist operator Barrie Stead cautiously welcomed the moves.

He added: “It is positive but we still need to assess whether 2013 will be financially viable for us.”