Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 10°C

Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

Bury St Edmunds: Plans to merge Theatre Royal and Apex are scrapped

14:00 23 January 2013

The Apex in Bury St Edmunds

The Apex in Bury St Edmunds

Archant

PLANS to merge the running of two of the region’s leading arts venues have been shelved.

Yesterday, the board of the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds announced it will no longer be pursuing a single management operation with the town’s music and entertainment venue The Apex.

Instead, it has put forward new proposals based on a partnership between the venues where both organisations will “retain their structural independence and distinctive characters”.

Under the new approach being put forward the two organisations will collaborate in a number of key areas. These include a joint box office operation, co-ordination of artistic programmes, the development of a shared vision for the arts in West Suffolk and strategic joint marketing and promotional activities.

The change of direction follows a period last year where supporters of the theatre voiced concerns that a full merger would threaten the theatre’s artistic integrity and burden it with some of the running costs of the Apex.

And yesterday, the chief executive of the 350-seater theatre, Simon Daykin, acknowledged these views had been instrumental in the decision to formulate the new plans.

He said: “Although the idea for the merger came from the right place there were deep concerns and anxieties from stakeholders.

“Forming a new entity that encompasses the running of a 200-year-old theatre and a two-year-old modern concert hall would have been a big move and there were potentially big risks involved from a financial and operational point of view.

“There were also concerns from the point of view of a public perception of what this might mean for their cherished Theatre Royal. People do genuinely care about what we do and it is essential they come along with us.

“There was a danger we had come up with a complicated solution to what is a simple problem - that is growing arts and cultural activities in the town and west Suffolk.

“So, we have decided to go back to basics.”

Mr Daykin said the proposed partnership was about “joined-up thinking” and was aimed at widening “access to a programme of quality arts activities”. He added that key funders of the theatre, such as The Arts Council, Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council, backed the plans.

The news has been welcomed by members of the Theatre Support Group (TSG) – an alliance of supporters of the Theatre Royal who last year launched a “Don’t Bury Our Theatre,” campaign in opposition to merger plans.

Member and former chairman of the theatre’s board, Judith Shallow, said: “This is exactly the type of collaborative approach we have been suggesting. It makes a huge amount of sense particularly in this economic climate.”

Tony Doherty, a director at the Apex, also greeted the new proposals warmly.

He said: “Any form of collaboration is positive and we look forward to working with the Theatre Royal to seek any opportunity to maximise the potential of Bury St Edmunds as a cultural destination.

“There are various way of managing any arts organisation and this is one way forward. We will see how this goes but keep an open mind about other options in the future.

“We are happy to work with the Theatre Royal to widen the choice available to audiences in west Suffolk.”

The new proposals will now be put forward for public consultation. A public meeting is due to be held on February 12 to discuss the plans while a dedicated website www.artsandminds-tr.org, with information and an online discussion forum is to be launched on January 28.

0 comments

Beryl Harding celebrated her 105th birthday on Monday

“I’m here to take some lovely photos of you,” beams our photographer.

Missing dog Sadie

An Ipswich family appealing for the safe return of their precious pet dog Sadie has said they have been the target of a hoax call demanding cash to get her back.

Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games will be broadcasting Springwatch  live from RSPB Minsmere again this year

Suffolk’s thriving tourism sector is gearing up for a summer of spectacular success as hordes of holidaymakers are expected to be lured to the county’s coast by the “phenomenal” Springwatch effect.

Dismantlement project on the Buttermarket Shopping Centre has begun. Left to right, Tom Bloor, Mark Bloor and Mark William.

Tonight marks the start of a three-week project to remove the distinctive facade over the entrance to the Buttermarket Shopping Centre.

Adam Ant on stage in the Word Arena at the Latitude Festival in 2011. Photograph: Simon Parker

I’m not an avid Adam Ant fan, so when I headed to his Kings of the Wild Frontier concert at the Ipswich Regent tonight I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Lois Cordelia painting Pig-Geswyk for the Pigs Gone Wild art trail.

Hundreds people visited an artist as she decorated a pig sculpture with Ipswich’s best known landmarks.

Tracey Haynes is a finalist in a competition to become the face of a plus-size fashion brand.

A pageant star from Kesgrave who has become a global ambassador for body image is encouraging people to put health before waist size.

Bill Baldry, Alton Water walk, EADT May 21

Bill Baldry enjoys the sights and sounds of Alton Water as he wanders through the woods north of Alton Water reservoir.

There was a partial recount following the last election in Ipswich as the result was so close but could changes make it less of a marginal seat?

Ipswich’s Labour and Conservative politicians are gearing up for a tussle with the Boundary Commission which could see the constituency’s character change significantly at the next general election.

Ellen's husband

I’ve written extensively in the past about the two things which irritate me most about my husband – his obsessive nature and competitive spirit, says Ellen Widdup.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24