A LEADING music maestro has backed the Assembly Hall amid fears it could be axed along with the Connaught Theatre.
John Gibbons, principal conductor of Worthing Symphony Orchestra, said the Assembly Hall was superior in many respects to the seafront Pavilion Theatre.
He said the art deco Assembly Hall had some of the finest acoustics in Europe, while the Pavilion could be turned into a bingo or lap dancing club.
Mr Gibbons was speaking as the council prepared to slash spending, with £1.2 million a year in theatre subsidies top of the cost-cutting agenda.
As the Herald was inundated with letters from symphony supporters, he listed points against the Pavilion and points in favour of the Assembly Hall.
Against the Pavilion:
– Very high maintainance costs due to position close to the sea.
– Dreadful acoustics.
– Poor parking and long way from railway station.
– Could be used for bingo or lap-dancing.
– Not good for anything in particular.
For the Assembly Hall:
– Some of the finest acoustics in Europe.
– Perfect for the Mayor’s Ball.
– Perfect for award nights and potential for award dinners if kitchen ok.
– Could be used for indoor sports such as table tennis, badminton and boxing.
– Sprung dance floor means it is the best place for dances.
– Good for tribute rock bands.
– Good for parking and close to railway station.
– Side rooms mean flexibility for events.
– Home of the Sussex International Piano Competition.
– Perfect venue for the Ukelele Festival.
– A good enough venue acoustically to encourage people from outside the borough (beyond London even) to visit Worthing and attend world-class classical concerts, spending their money in the town as a result.
– Excellent balcony for those who like being high up.
– Good for exhibitions.
Wendy Dowse, secretary of the symphony orchestra, said: “It seems likely that those who proposed the closures think the Pavilion Theatre will cover all the events at both the other venues.
“This, of course, is nonsense.
“The residents of Worthing enjoy many events at the Assembly Hall that could not be adequately provided at the Pavilion.
“Conversely, the Pavilion season of entertainment could easily be put on at the Assembly Hall – and was a few years ago when the Pavilion was closed for renovations.”