Friday, February 23, 2007

THANET COUNCIL TAKE CENTRE STAGE
and whole Theatre Royal
For some reason the council are purchasing the Theatre Royal, in yet another secret deal. I’m just curious as to why, they have not felt it necessary to gauge public opinion before purchase or at least publicise the reasons.

Seems a bit of a surprise, last week they didn’t seem to have any money, now after setting the inflation busting increase in council tax it looks like they can’t give it away fast enough.

What will they do with the Winter Gardens; maybe they could convert that into the much-awaited Turner gallery for a couple of million quid or more likely sell it off to some developer as part of the Hotel and Conference centre that I seem to remember being mentioned by Paul Carter of KCC.

The Gazettes report informs us that the council intend to undertake a major refurbishment, so don’t expect it to re-open under new management soon. Before a lick of paint is applied, you can be certain nothing will happen until a few consultant reports have been commission and forgotten.

7 comments:

  1. Well the Gazette article is just a basic crib and rewrite of the KM Extra's front page article, complete with the same factual error of one point. I think the comment about a major refurbishment is just conjecture, but the fate of the staff is known...they are all to be made redundant!!

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  2. I can't see the point of Thanet Council etc spending 200,000 a year on this when with theatre looks value for money on present of system maybe with a revised grant of 75000 appears to offer a good program of events.

    Still what do our 'local tories' know about good value.

    I dont suppose that they are bothered by making the staff redundant.

    To me it looks like a simple power trip, they cannot hack giving money to people who know what there doing, they'd rather waste double the amount by putting there own management in.

    There apparent plan should see off the Theatre Royal during there five year investment

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  3. Way off on the facts there Tony. TDC's commitment is £75,000 a year, a figure you seem to approve of! The purchase will be hopefully funded by grant, which need to be spent by the end of the financial year due to stupid government rules, the confusion on Thursday was adding a stop gap measure in case the grant did not come through.

    Most importantly, the Theatre Royal is about to collapse, weighed down by debt and losses. Tragic, but true. This may permit a Theatre Royal to continue, without there will be no Theatre Royal at all. I would love not too have to do any of these things, and not own this building as a council, and we will attempt to lease it back to a new trust asap. However it comes across, we are desperately trying to ensure the Theatre Royal continues in the heart of Margate.

    The staff are employed by the trust. If it ceases trading, it does not require staff, howvever emotionally difficult that may be.

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  4. Assuming your correct Chris, then Hurrah !for Thanet District Council, let the chocolate fountains flow! still what if the council stopped the £300,000 car parking subsidy (Mill Lane) for staff and switched the money to entertaining the public

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  5. What I can't understand is why the theatre can suddenly be subsidised to the tune of over £200,000 by the council and other sources to put on, as I understand it, a much shorter resticted programme.
    With about half of this proposed funding (and lets face it most theatres are funded to a certain extent, I'm told the Marlowe gets £600,000 from Canterbury)the Theatre Royal could then continue their popular programming and probably even employ an arts, youth and community officer to forge closer links with the community. What are the community based projects likely to be anyway, are they the amateurs and schools that already use the theatre regularly? If not, where are they going to go?

    Another question is why the Council want to purchase the theatre anyway, other than to gain control of it for future use? Are we looking at the revised yet again Turner Centre being housed there when the current seafront project fails? And they could still call it an arts and community project!

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  6. So, most of anything worth owning in Margate now in the hands of either TDC or Waterbridge. Trebles all round!

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  7. Thanet council is buying the theatre, and leasing it back to the Theatre's Board of Trustees. As most of these trustees have no business sense, or experience running a community centre, they will all be replaced with puppets from Thanet District Council. The new trust members will have a nice amount in the bank, on top of the subsidy, to waste on projects the public will not come and see. They will not have the interests of the history, heritage or heart
    of the theatre in mind. But hey, it's not their money is it?

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