Is Worthing Theatres’ offer rival towns’ gain?

Ann Barlow
Ann Barlow

A former Worthing mayor said she would reluctantly visit rival towns to get her cultural fix because of an underwhelming theatres programme.

Ann Barlow, an ex-duty manager at the town’s theatres, is a ‘passionate’ supporter of the venues but said the upcoming season was ‘exceptionally disappointing’.

She said: “To have such a high taxpayer subsidy and then produce a mediocre offer is such a shame. We love and support theatres but sadly over the next six months it’s going to be Chichester, Brighton and London. After spending eight years in council supporting them, four years working there and being a true ambassador, I’m very passionate about live theatre and have been a great supporter.

“I had the brochure and credit card ready to book some shows as a treat and there are no classic dramas or plays.”

A theatres spokesman said they were ‘a little bemused’ by the criticism but accepted they could not please all.

They said Mrs Barlow’s comments came amid strong financial performance including record ticket sales in October and November.

They said: “Works by Shakespeare, Noel Coward and Jack London are all being staged here in this six month programme and we have two cracking comedy theatre shows lined up. Again capacity for our theatre shows year-on-year is 29 per cent up which suggests we are doing something right.”

“Taste is always a personal thing but across the categories, our comedy, music, talks, films, family shows and theatre, we are seeing really positive box office activity with ever growing audiences many of whom have never been before.”

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