Vision for Spa as cultural centre

SUPPORTERS of Felixstowe's seafront theatre are being invited to a meeting to discuss the possibility of turning it into an all-year-round cultural centre.

SUPPORTERS of Felixstowe's seafront theatre are being invited to a meeting to discuss the possibility of turning it into an all-year-round cultural centre.

The meeting will be asked to back proposals for a charitable trust to take over the Spa Pavilion when its contract comes up for grabs next year.

Businessman Trevor Lockwood, who has put forward the suggestion, said: "It is an idea whose time has arrived - a charitable trust to encourage arts and entertainment in Felixstowe.

"There are theatre, dance, music and art groups in the town who need space, resources and audiences.

"I want to get everyone together to see if there is a way we can make this work and get a trust up and running."

The meeting will take place on Monday July 25 at 7.30pm at Mrs Simpson's Tearooms, Undercliff Road East, Felixstowe.

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Mr Lockwood said the Spa had "huge potential" and believed it could become a top venue for professional light entertainment, serious amateur dramatic works, rehearsal venue, and a meeting place for a host of organisations and activities.

His vision is to see it used every day of the year to really bring Felixstowe alive and make it a place people want to visit to benefit businesses.

Mr Lockwood, who runs By Design in High Road East, said if a charitable trust was given to the theatre for ten years it could obtain lottery cash to develop it.

He said: "We need people to run this theatre with a real local feel - people who know the Spa and know Felixstowe. I am sure we can make it viable and make it a cultural centre for the town."

Suffolk Coastal has agreed to "test the water" and see what big companies would be prepared to run the theatre, and to talk to any charitable trust formed and also the town council about taking over the venue.

It 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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