Peter Aldous calls for more government support for local theatres

6th October 2020

Speaking in a debate on the contribution of theatres to the local economy, Peter Aldous highlights the wider role of local theatres and calls for more support and speedier distribution of the cultural recovery fund.

 

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Charles. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Nickie Aiken) on securing this debate. She represents the west end—the national showcase for the world-leading UK theatre industry. However, it is an industry that extends throughout our four countries, and it is important that the roots are nurtured so as to ensure that the industry does not wither away.

In Waveney, there are five main theatres, which complement each other well and are deeply embedded in their communities—the Marina, in the centre of Lowestoft, with its 800-seat auditorium, the Players Theatre at the nearby former Bethel church run by the Lowestoft Players—one of East Anglia’s premier amateur theatre groups, for whom I am an ambassador—and the Seagull theatre in Pakefield, the Fisher theatre in Bungay and Beccles Public Hall, which are all run by volunteers. I shall briefly outline why those theatres are so vital in the area.

First, they are crucial to the future of our town centres, which are facing enormous pressures and undergoing dramatic change, not only as a result of covid but also due to the fast-changing face of retail. Secondly, the theatres are doing so much great work in the community. The Seagull runs dementia classes and engages with care homes and schools, as does the Marina, which, in 2019, in addition to performances, clocked up more than 5,000 engagements through its community outreach work. Thirdly, theatres nurture talent and enable people of all ages and all backgrounds to fulfil their dreams and realise their full potential. In 1953-54, Sir Michael Caine spent a year in Lowestoft in rep at the Arcadia, which is now the Hollywood cinema.

Finally, we must not forget what goes on back- stage. UK theatre has a well-established world-leading supply chain, which cannot function when there are no performances. In Lowestoft, Scenic Projects designs and builds sets and scenery, which it transports around the country.

The theatres in Waveney are getting out and helping themselves. The Marina has launched its survival fund and the Fisher theatre and Beccles Public Hall will be putting on special socially distant pantomimes, “Raiders of the Lost Panto” and “Inside the Snowglobe”. However, covid-19 has stopped them all in their tracks. The cultural recovery fund is welcome, but the money needs to get out quicker and get right across the country. Moreover, more support is required, as my hon. Friend the Member for Clacton (Giles Watling) has articulated in his role as chair of the all-party parliamentary group for theatre.

Hansard

Contact Peter Aldous MP

Coronavirus - COVID-19

Image by Olga Lionart from Pixabay

For the latest Government advice on the Coronavirus pandemic visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus

For the latest medical advice visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

For business support click here

To become an NHS Volunteer Responder click here

Coronavirus - COVID-19: The Government Action Plan

COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses

UK/Italy bid to host the global climate change summit in 2020

Lowestoft and Waveney Business Awards

The Renaissance of East Anglian Fisheries

Construction (Retention Deposit Schemes) Bill

Construction (Retention Deposit Schemes) Bill

Surgeries

All surgeries are cancelled at the moment. Please contact me on
peter.aldous.mp@parliament.uk

 

A47 Alliance

Suppor the A47 Alliance

Download the report...

A47 Gateway to Growth

SEARCH

Search form

Your Local Councillors

Enter your Postcode below for details of all your elected representatives:

  

Constituency Map

View Waveney in a larger map