Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Bury St Edmunds: Plans to merge Theatre Royal and Apex are scrapped

14:00 23 January 2013

The Apex in Bury St Edmunds

The Apex in Bury St Edmunds

Archant

PLANS to merge the running of two of the region’s leading arts venues have been shelved.

shares

Yesterday, the board of the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds announced it will no longer be pursuing a single management operation with the town’s music and entertainment venue The Apex.

Instead, it has put forward new proposals based on a partnership between the venues where both organisations will “retain their structural independence and distinctive characters”.

Under the new approach being put forward the two organisations will collaborate in a number of key areas. These include a joint box office operation, co-ordination of artistic programmes, the development of a shared vision for the arts in West Suffolk and strategic joint marketing and promotional activities.

The change of direction follows a period last year where supporters of the theatre voiced concerns that a full merger would threaten the theatre’s artistic integrity and burden it with some of the running costs of the Apex.

And yesterday, the chief executive of the 350-seater theatre, Simon Daykin, acknowledged these views had been instrumental in the decision to formulate the new plans.

He said: “Although the idea for the merger came from the right place there were deep concerns and anxieties from stakeholders.

“Forming a new entity that encompasses the running of a 200-year-old theatre and a two-year-old modern concert hall would have been a big move and there were potentially big risks involved from a financial and operational point of view.

“There were also concerns from the point of view of a public perception of what this might mean for their cherished Theatre Royal. People do genuinely care about what we do and it is essential they come along with us.

“There was a danger we had come up with a complicated solution to what is a simple problem - that is growing arts and cultural activities in the town and west Suffolk.

“So, we have decided to go back to basics.”

Mr Daykin said the proposed partnership was about “joined-up thinking” and was aimed at widening “access to a programme of quality arts activities”. He added that key funders of the theatre, such as The Arts Council, Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council, backed the plans.

The news has been welcomed by members of the Theatre Support Group (TSG) – an alliance of supporters of the Theatre Royal who last year launched a “Don’t Bury Our Theatre,” campaign in opposition to merger plans.

Member and former chairman of the theatre’s board, Judith Shallow, said: “This is exactly the type of collaborative approach we have been suggesting. It makes a huge amount of sense particularly in this economic climate.”

Tony Doherty, a director at the Apex, also greeted the new proposals warmly.

He said: “Any form of collaboration is positive and we look forward to working with the Theatre Royal to seek any opportunity to maximise the potential of Bury St Edmunds as a cultural destination.

“There are various way of managing any arts organisation and this is one way forward. We will see how this goes but keep an open mind about other options in the future.

“We are happy to work with the Theatre Royal to widen the choice available to audiences in west Suffolk.”

The new proposals will now be put forward for public consultation. A public meeting is due to be held on February 12 to discuss the plans while a dedicated website www.artsandminds-tr.org, with information and an online discussion forum is to be launched on January 28.

shares

0 comments

Langham cottage fire. Photo: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters were tackling a blaze at a thatched cottage in a village near the Suffolk/Essex border on Friday night.

The scene of the crash in Norwich Road, Barham.

A young man has died after a three-vehicle crash in Suffolk today, police have said.

David Cameron visits Tending Technology College, Frinton

Prime Minister David Cameron pleaded with East Anglian voters to help return him to Downing Street during an emotional speech at Frinton on Sea in the Clacton seat that was lost to UKIP last year.

The pedestrian was knocked over by a Renault Luton van in Hall Road, Oulton Broad, shortly after 5pm today, police said.

A female pedestrian aged in her 80s is in hospital with a broken jaw after a collision involving a van near Lowestoft.

The show is held at the famous Stonham Barnes

Taking place at Stonham Barns, the Mid and West Suffolk Show offers a host of top attractions as well as trade and craft stalls, all in the grounds of the retail and leisure complex.

The residents of London Road coming together to forge a new sense of community in the film London Road which receives its first public screening in Ipswich at the beginning of June. The film, direcetd by Rufus Norris, stars Olivia Colman, Anita Dobson and Tom Hardy.

People can today see the first clips of a new film based around the murders of five women in Ipswich in 2006.

A popular Suffolk man suffered a massive heart attack before his mini tractor toppled into a garden pond, doctors have established.

Ed Sheeran with his awards for Best British Male Solo Artist and British Album of the Year at the 2015 Brit Awards at the O2 Arena, London. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Even though he’s currently touring the world, Suffolk superstar Ed Sheeran still misses the taste of home.

George Buffham outside the Nestle/Purina factory in Sudbury.

People living near a pet food factory in Sudbury have claimed that a £250,000 scheme to reduce unpleasant odours from the plant has “not worked”.

Appeal after EpiPen stolen from car.

People are asked to be vigilant after an EpiPen adrenaline injection kit was stolen from a parked car in Carlton Colville.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages