‘We have an opportunity to let Worthing’s theatres fly’

W03049H14-Theatre.  The Connaught Theatre
W03049H14-Theatre. The Connaught Theatre

Transferring the running of Worthing’s theatres to an outside organisation would allow them to ‘fly’, according to one councillor.

Worthing Borough Council currently manages the Connaught Theatre, Pavilion Theatre and Assembly Hall as well as the museum and art gallery in-house.

But the authority has revived plans to transfer the management of the attractions to an independent organisation or charitable trust, an option supported by the council’s joint strategic committee last Tuesday.

Officers suggested the successful organisation, which would be selected through a full procurement exercise, would have ‘strong leadership and an entrepreneurial approach’ to running the venues.

They argued this option would allow the theatres to access streams of funding not currently available.

The council’s current in-house cultural team will be given an opportunity to bid.

Edward Crouch, executive member for digital and environmental services, expressed disappointment at the low turnout at the meeting due to it taking place at the same time as a ‘bag of wind’ (football) being kicked about.

He added: “It’s a shame that some of our windbags are not here to hear what is being discussed because it’s really important and we have a very small number of folks who have a different view to the value of culture and I think it’s shame they are not here and I fully expect at our next Full Council meeting the grandstanding we have become so used to seeing, but this is really important.

“This is a considered piece of work. It’s to be supported and we have an opportunity to let our theatres fly and this is very much the first step on to the runway.”

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