Tale of two theatres as reality bites

The Spa Pavilion has been boarded up.

The Spa Pavilion has been boarded up. - Credit: Archant

WHAT a contrast we are seeing between two of the biggest theatres in Suffolk.

While Ipswich’s Regent theatre has had money invested in it by both Labour and Conservative-led councils over the last decade, the Spa Pavilion has been allowed to deteriorate and is now closed and boarded up.

The fact is that the voters of Suffolk Coastal value low council tax bills above support for a theatre that has probably lost its audience anyway.

In these days of increased mobility, it probably makes more sense not to have an 900-seat theatre on the coast competing for acts with the Regent and Corn Exchange which are just 12 miles away.

Its closure will probably bring more business to Ipswich – and a Regent theatre that is going from strength to strength under manager David Mansfield.

As the Spa Gardens are restored with lottery money, I hope that the pavilion itself is not left like a festering carbuncle in its centre.

In the absence of a multi-million pound bid to totally restore and convert it, would it not make more sense to clear the site and start again with something more modest to attract visitors?