Spa group drums up support

BACKERS of a move to take over the running of Felixstowe's seafront theatre say they are deadly serious – but want the public to get behind their bid.The consortium of residents has delivered to Suffolk Coastal the 100 question pre-tender questionnaire to show they should be allowed to tender for the contract for the Spa Pavilion.

BACKERS of a move to take over the running of Felixstowe's seafront theatre say they are deadly serious – but want the public to get behind their bid.

The consortium of residents has delivered to Suffolk Coastal the 100 question pre-tender questionnaire to show they should be allowed to tender for the contract for the Spa Pavilion.

Now they are drawing up plans to create the Felixstowe Fund, a community interest company which would run the theatre and possibly act as an umbrella organisation to market all the town's amenity and leisure activities.

Businessman Trevor Lockwood, of the project team, said: "Now we need more people prepared to stand up and say 'Yes, I'd like to get involved in some way'. Later we will require company directors and those capable of raising finance.

"Last year the Spa managed 102 performances, half of those amateur productions. A lot more can be achieved, the demand exists but the present cost to hire the space is often prohibitive.

"We know a lot needs to be done, but Felixstowe can become a centre of excellence, providing mainstream entertainment, conference facilities, meeting rooms and a social centre.

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"We need community involvement. Let's grab hold of this opportunity and show the world what can be done."

Team Leader Eileen Aldous said a keen and dedicated team with huge entertainment industry experience had been put together for the bid – from the Royal Shakespeare Company to small provincial theatres, along with wide TV experience, dance nightclubs expertise, and music venue producers.

She said: "Add to that financial expertise, great catering ideas, sound experience in access to the theatre for the disabled and an ardent desire to make the place sing and we must be the best choice for the future of the Spa Pavilion."

Suffolk Coastal wants more quality shows and a more diverse programme generating larger audiences, and to cut the £200,000 subsidy it pays the operator by around half.

n What's your vision of the Spa Pavilion's future – how should it be changed and what sort of entertainment should it provide? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINK: www.spapavilion.co.uk.

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