Finding Spa show formula is the key

OBSERVING the shenanigans over the future of the Spa Pavilion, it is a real frustration – and a puzzle – as to why the theatre is in such dire trouble.

Times are hard and the cost of council services have to be cut, or we will all have to pay more council tax.

And at a time when petrol, diesel, gas, electricity, and food keep rising, no family wants to pay Suffolk Coastal council more of its household budget.

On the other hand, isn’t a theatre, a vibrant hub for the performance arts, a service the council should be providing?

Just like it should provide a swimming pool (wait for the uproar if Suffolk Coastal decides to get rid of leisure centres), bin emptying, children’s play areas, sports pitches, seafront lights, nice gardens, lifebelts, and many other services – many of which don’t affect me and I would never use. None of which are run for a profit either.

A theatre is actually something I would like them to spend my tax on.

The council though says it cannot afford the Spa Pavilion any longer – the �240,000 a year it pays the contractors is too much.

Most Read

That’s a measly 1.8 per cent of its �13 million budget.

The council says the theatre needs a huge investment to become a modern venue where people will feel comfortable about spending an evening. Why hasn’t the council been putting money away for this?

Anyway, the Spa Pavilion isn’t exactly a run-down garden shed.

In recent years the council has invested considerably in the venue – it is surprisingly comfortable.

It is never going to attract showbiz A-listers and probably doesn’t need as much work backstage or front-of-house as the consultants feel.

Yes, the roof needs doing – the council already had that money budgeted for that – and the restaurant and bar could become a superb asset with a little vision and investment. Just look at The Alex a short walk away.

The biggest puzzle though is no fault of the council whatsoever.

It is simply this: what shows will attract people to visit the Spa? People complain about tribute shows and has beens, musicals, and so on, but what would entice people to part with their hard-earned cash?

More bums on seats are what’s needed, and at the moment each seat is being subsidised to the tune of �7 from our council tax because audience figures are so low.

However, we feel about whether or not the council should provide a theatre, none of us can be happy about that.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter