Theatre can overcome setback

IPSWICH'S Regent theatre is a huge asset for Suffolk, attracting world-class performers and bringing in millions of pounds to the area.However like many major theatres across the country, the Regent faces very severe financial constraints - and continues to operate at a substantial loss.

IPSWICH'S Regent theatre is a huge asset for Suffolk, attracting world-class performers and bringing in millions of pounds to the area.

However like many major theatres across the country, the Regent faces very severe financial constraints - and continues to operate at a substantial loss.

Over the last year losses have been higher than forecast, which is obviously a concern for the theatre management and the borough council which owns and operates the venue.

However no one should forget the massive improvements that have been carried out to East Anglia's largest theatre over the last 12 months.


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The redecoration and the new seats have transformed the auditorium and made it one of the most welcoming venues in the country so far as audiences are concerned.

This has enabled it to attract some of the biggest names in entertainment - and today it was confirmed that soap superstar Debra Stephenson and children's TV legend Basil Brush will be starring in this year's Christmas pantomime Aladdin.

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And while looking at the figures, no one should forget that the losses have been cut substantially over the last few years - at one stage it was losing about £1 million every year.

So while today's figures will undoubtedly be looked on as disappointing by many people, they hardly represent a crisis - and for the amount of money the Regent brings to town, it still looks like a very good deal.

NEWS that Ipswich voter Peter Turtill is considering mounting a legal challenge to the decision to pay new county chief Andrea Hill £220,000 will hardly come as a surprise.

The District Auditor opened the door to such a challenge in his report which was discussed by the council last month - although he warned that he did not feel such a move would be worthwhile.

Mr Turtill is within his rights to demand a legal challenge - and clearly there remain concerns about the way the decision was taken to pay Mrs Hill so much.

But the fear for many people will be that the legal costs will be so high that council tax payers will be left with a hefty bill to pay . . . whatever the eventual outcome of the case.

IPSWICH Hospital's Garrett Anderson Centre may have taken a long time to be transferred from the drawing board to taking its first patients, but as it opened its doors today there was no doubt what an asset it would be for the town.

At a stroke the emergency department at the hospital has been transformed - and surgeons now have some of the most up-to-date operating theatres in the country to work in.

While there remain concerns about some aspects of health service in the area, especially over the future of head and neck cancer services, at least patients suffering acute medical needs know that their first port of call is one of the most modern and best-equipped emergency units in Britain.

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