A MEMBER of a theatre’s management team claims staff are being kept in the dark about merger plans.

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A business plan is currently being developed for an arts trust to manage the Theatre Royal and the Apex music and entertainment venue in Bury St Edmunds.

However, Chris Grady, head of external relations at the Theatre Royal, has expressed concerns those running the playhouse “aren’t party” to discussions about a future business model.

Mr Grady said the Open Space event, which was held on Saturday to discuss the future of the theatre, had generated both “fascinating and worrying discussions”. He said the “worrying element” was that the management teams at the theatre and the Apex did not know the discussions going on about the business plan.

“Lots of things seem to be shrouded in secrecy. The management of the theatre and the management of the Apex aren’t party to the discussions on this. I think that was a surprise to all the people present on Saturday.”

But Simon Daykin, who is chief executive of the theatre and also on the board, said he was now involved in the process of the discussions, although that was a recent decision.

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which owns and runs the Apex, said Apex staff had worked very closely with the Arts Council consultant carrying out the review for the partners since the spring.

She added Tony Doherty, the Apex venue director, was also on the steering group working on the project, along with the equivalent Theatre Royal manager.

“Ultimately, it’s a decision for the Theatre Royal board and St Edmundsbury’s councillors to take, but we are involving staff at every stage and are proud of their professional approach.”

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