Stowmarket: Regal theatre under fire for live show rates policy

THE manager of a growing independent cinema has backed its charges policy after they were criticised for being too high by the local concert society.

David Marsh, manager of the Regal in Stowmarket, has said the cinema has to remain viable and will need money in the future to invest in new equipment.

The comments come after the secretary of the Stowmarket Concert Society said that their hire charge had risen by nearly 40% over the last year.

Jim Kirkham, secretary of the Stowmarket Concert Society sent a letter to the East Anglian Daily Times, in which he said: “It seems that the present council have forgotten their responsibility to encourage the community use of the Regal.

“The coming season of Stowmarket Concerts are going ahead at the Regal. To encourage this smattering of good music, the council have seen fit to increase our hire charge by 37.5%.”

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For the first time since Stowmarket Town Council began to manage The Regal, the venue has begun to make a profit during the last couple of years.

“The lion’s share of admissions is for the cinema, but live concerts are still very important to us,” said Mr Marsh.

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“Every year we have to look at the rates so we have a situation which suits all parties. We currently subsidise all the not-for-profit live shows, we have to remain viable.

“The rate was not touched for a while before I came here. We have been speaking to the concert society, their treasurer and chairman, we are proud to have them use us. Gone are the days when it did not matter about how much money places lost.”

Stowmarket Concert Society currently put on five live shows a year along with other local groups including the Stowmarket Operative and Dramatic Society.

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