Anger as council throws youth drama group out of Capitol

JPCT-15-02-12 outside the Capitol group against closure of Renee Martin's drama club on Saturdays S12080054a -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT-15-02-12 outside the Capitol group against closure of Renee Martin's drama club on Saturdays S12080054a -photo by Steve Cobb

‘DON’T let the council close our drama group’ - that’s the call for action issued by members of a Horsham Saturday drama club, left angry after receiving one month’s notice that their beloved club is to be axed.

Held at The Capitol theatre in North Street, the weekly workshop is run by Horsham District Council.

Renee Martin, a drama tutor there for 30 years, said she was ‘sad’ to hear the news and felt ‘terrible letting down those who are midway through their training’.

Last Saturday parents were given a letter from The Capitol’s general manager Michael Gattrell. It said: “Due to our increased programme here at The Capitol, it has not been easy to accommodate a consistent safe space for pupils’ tuition on a Saturday morning therefore 10 March 2012 will be the last drama workshop.”

The decision to axe the club arose when The Capitol was asked, along with other venues operated by HDC, to review its operations in light of the current economic crisis.

Jonathan Chowen (Con, Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead), HDC’s cabinet member for Arts, Heritage and Leisure, said: “We have been looking at ways to increase income and reduce costs so that we are able to maintain these much loved and valued amenities.

“Recently, The Capitol has introduced ‘Children’s Saturday Morning Cinema’ and its success has lead to a plan to develop more children oriented productions.”

For the full story and more reaction read The County Times tomorrow (Thursday).