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Bigger theatre to bring stars to city
7:30am Thursday 3rd October 2013 in News
A BIGGER theatre in Chelmsford could bring top performers and productions to the city.
Chelmsford Council’s arts and entertainments manager Jon Gower made the statement on Monday when quizzed by the authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
It followed a presentation from Mr Gower discussing how the council-run Civic and Cramphorn theatres operate.
The Fairfield Road venues had a turnover last year of nearly £1.3million and have a combined capacity of 680 seats – 505 in the Civic and 177 in the Cramphorn.
When asked if there was scope for a venue with over 1,000 seats, to attract major stars, Mr Gower said yes – but it would depend on investment.
He said: “My gut feeling is that there is space in the national market for a bigger venue in Chelmsford.
“When you look at our competition in Southend and Ipswich, we feature nicely in the middle of those places.
“If we had a bigger theatre, we would have to change the product we bring in. This would mean having the big touring musical productions, which would be a great thing.
“But obviously we are talking about a huge capital commitment.”
Conservative councillor Paul Hutchinson, who raised the question about a bigger theatre in the city, said it would be great to have a venue like this.
But he also feels the Civic and Cramphorn Theatres must not be forgotten.
Mr Hutchinson said: “If the building of a larger theatre was to happen, we would not want to lose what we already have.
“The money and space to build it would have to be found too, but everything in life has to progress.”
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