Spa's new line up

NEW managers are preparing to take over the running of Felixstowe's Spa Pavilion - and promising the community will play a larger role in the seafront theatre's future.

NEW managers are preparing to take over the running of Felixstowe's Spa Pavilion - and promising the community will play a larger role in the seafront theatre's future.

Openwide International take over the 913-seater council-owned venue from Clear Channel on June 5.

They will run it for the next decade and receive around £200,000 a year from Suffolk Coastal.

Krystyna Smithers has been appointed general manager, joining Openwide from her role as general manager of the Reading Rooms in Ipswich. She has lived in Felixstowe for the past 12 years and has well established links within the community.


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Cabinet member Rae Leighton said Openwide were taking on an exciting challenge to develop the Spa.

“The company came through a tough selection contest thanks to its track record of proven experience and financial clout, and a programme that will develop the Spa as both a performance venue and a place to meet and eat,” he said.

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“The Spa is an asset that helps makes this district, and in particular Felixstowe, a visitor destination and with Openwide on board I expect it to go from strength to strength, building on the success of the last ten years, and putting our theatre even more firmly centre-stage as a regional arts venue.

“A ten-year partnership gives the new managers the necessary stability to plan and develop their programmes, backed with an annual subsidy of around £200,000. We think that is a worthwhile investment as the Spa plays such an important role in our district and our profit-sharing arrangement means our annual payment to the company will be off-set if it does really well in future years.”

Openwide has run the Pavilion Pier in Cromer since 2001 where it has developed a series of successful summer shows, and boosted the catering opportunities as an added attraction to the theatre.

The agreement with Suffolk Coastal has protected the terms and conditions of current Clear Channel employees at the Spa.

Rory Holburn, commercial and operations director for Openwide, said: “Openwide International believes that the community is at the heart of the theatre and we want to work with the community and increase their involvement in the Spa.

“We are already developing plans to offer drama/plays, youth drama, children's shows, classical/orchestral music, dance, comedy and light entertainment, plus summer seasons aimed at attracting residents and tourists.

“I would emphasise that we are committed to showcasing amateur performances, and it will be a pleasure to host the annual Felixstowe Drama Festival. We were delighted to win the backing of Suffolk Coastal to take on the management of the Spa and look forward to a close working relationship with the council over the coming years.”

Do you think the Spa is worth £200,000 a year? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk Relevant Links

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