The Theatres Trust

Dewsbury Little Theatre sale funds could help town halls

11th November 2011

Money made from the sale of Dewsbury Little Theatre should be invested into town halls to keep local amateur dramatics alive. That’s the call of one councillor, who believes some of the money made by Kirklees Council from selling the Batley Carr site should be spent on audience facilities at Batley, Dewsbury and Cleckheaton town halls.

Coun David Hall (Con, Liversedge and Gomersal) said: “The Little Theatre was a community facility devoted to the arts and I think it would be fitting to use some of the proceeds from its disposal to enhance other public performance venues, particularly as some of our performing societies have been displaced. A few thousand pounds would go a long way to ensuring a more comfortable experience for both audience and performers.”

The suggestion has been welcomed by performing arts groups. Carlinghow Theatre Company president Nigel Dixon said it would be unfair to not reinvest the money in the arts. “We have lost yet another venue for groups to use and town halls are some of the few venues we have left. The council must invest in them,” he said. “Usually the arts is the first to suffer from cuts, and being able to use a council-run venue with reasonable facilities is our only option.”

Mr Dixon said he would like to see some of the money spent on sound and lighting systems, which amateur groups usually had to fund themselves.

Batley Gilbert and Sullivan Society treasurer Robert Thurman said improved seating areas would make a better experience for performers and audience members alike. He said: “The problem, particularly in Batley, is that the auditorium is completely flat, so if you are not sat towards the front your view of the stage is obscured. It’s difficult because a theatre needs to have a certain layout which will never be duplicated in a public hall. The only thing you can do is enhance it as best you can.” Mr Thurman concluded that tiered seating, which could be set up and removed as needed, was the logical answer.

Source: Batley and Birstall News

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Prosceniums at Chorley Little Theatre, Chorley, 1988
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