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Rosy future for theatre

PUBLISHED: 18:29 25 October 2008 | UPDATED: 12:06 03 July 2010

Liz Coates

THE future's rosy and possibly pink for Great Yarmouth's St Georges Theatre after townsfolk had their say on possible new uses for the building.

People's views from questionnaires are being fed back to architects and officials in a bid to come up with a favoured scheme to impress funders by the end of the month.

THE future's rosy and possibly pink for Great Yarmouth's St Georges Theatre after townsfolk had their say on possible new uses for the building.

People's views from questionnaires are being fed back to architects and officials in a bid to come up with a favoured scheme to impress funders by the end of the month.

More radical ideas among the 189 responses included a strip club, a venue for sumo wrestling and knocking it down for a multi- storey, with most people generally in favour of returning it to theatre use.

Even more wacky was one suggestion to paint the listed 18th century building pink.

The theatre is set to take centre stage under an £8m scheme to regenerate King Street funded by the government's Sea Change regeneration scheme.

Neighbourhood manager Rob Gregory said the survey carried out at short notice to tie in with a tight deadline for the submission of the bid provided “very varied views” but also a general consensus about having an arts' based role - which help the business case.

“All of the information is really useful and we are trying to be as inclusive as possible. The information will be used to ensure the voice of the community is captured.

“The end use is being worked up but there is no final decision. We can guarantee that the crux of what is coming back about maintaining its use as a theatre with some flexible space will be heard.”

Mr Gregory said he was “quite confident” of a successful outcome to the funding bid, adding: “Yarmouth is in a very strong position because of the criteria of Sea Change looking at coastal resorts and cultural venues.”

The results survey results were released this week by the borough council, Comeunity and Voluntary Norfolk.

Other than the more bizarre suggestions there was broad agreement about providing something for young people. One resident said the theatre had been the “preserve of the elite” suggesting a role creating a “Jamie Oliver culture” among young people.

Other suggested uses included a youth club with café, church, indoor sports, museum, free make-up studio, disco and general community activities.

As reported last week architectural and urban design practice Derby-based Lathams have been appointed to work on the technical design of the building, its outside space and beyond within the limitations of its listed status.

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