It’s time to raise the curtain for a debate on borough’s theatre provision, says correspondent

- ALDERMAN Nigel Hamilton has called on the council to justify running two ‘luxury’ theatres (Times, February 17).

Even a cursory glance at the council’s ‘What’s On’ brochure will soon reveal what type of clientele each theatre is trying to attract.

The Theatre at The Mill with its offering of ballet, Shakespeare and other highbrow events vies for attention with the Courtyard’s mix of comedy plays, pantomimes and showbands. I wonder incidentally, what the majority of the borough’s residents prefer.

The Theatre at The Mill, Alderman Hamilton acknowledges, is not bringing in the punters. The Courtyard on the other hand has long been a venue where local dramatic groups, community and youth groups etc. have been given a space for their activities. Alderman Hamilton rightly calls for debate on this issue and suggests that it should be the Courtyard that should close. The Theatre at The Mill is certainly a state of the art facility with lots going for it, but my concern would be that if the Courtyard closes where would the local drama societies and community groups go? Would they be welcome at the Theatre at The Mill?

Rather than the curtain falling on the Courtyard, how about raising the curtain for a debate about the future provision of a much valued resource for the whole community?

Yours sincerely,

(Name and address supplied)