Further discussions in panto debate

AS the debate hots up over the future of the Regent Theatre, further discussions are to take place between the Co-op Juniors and the borough council.But both sides emphasise that these talks are "friendly" and not confrontational – but this is the first time there has been any suggestion that the Juniors' Christmas show is anything but a fixture in the Regent calendar.

AS the debate hots up over the future of the Regent theatre, further discussions are to take place between the Co-op Juniors and the borough council.

But both sides emphasise the talks are "friendly" and not confrontational – but this is the first time there has been any suggestion that the Juniors' Christmas show is anything but a fixture in the Regent calendar.

The prospect of bringing in a professional company had always been rejected out of hand by the borough council until a report on the future of the Regent was commissioned last year.

The brief of that was to look at all aspects of the theatre's operation – the only fixed point was that the Regent was to remain an entertainment venue.


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Borough leisure spokesman John Mowles admitted that the Juniors' show was not sacrosanct – but also acknowledged that they have a very strong following throughout the area.

No one has stronger links with Ipswich than Mr Mowles – and no one on the council is more aware of the role the Juniors have in the lifeblood of the town.

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The fact that he is not able to offer them a guarantee that they'll be a Christmas fixture at the Regent is highly significant.

Others at Civic Centre have even stronger links with the Juniors – current mayor Richard Risebrow is a former administrator for the Co-op Education Department which organises the shows.

His civic position prevents him from commenting publicly on the current situation – but the fact that he still plays an important day-to-day role in the organisation of the Juniors' productions when they're in the Regent enables onlookers to make an educated guess about his private thoughts.

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