SAVE THE CONNAUGHT Worthing Theatres ‘need to change’

Jon Woodley puts his plan to the audience at a meeting to save Worthing's theatres
Jon Woodley puts his plan to the audience at a meeting to save Worthing's theatres
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WORTHING’S theatres can survive and prosper – but only if they change and have their potential fulfilled.

That is the message from Jon Woodley, who is battling to save Worthing’s theatres from being axed.

The 26-year-old theatre consultant told a packed meeting at Broadwater Manor School, in Broadwater Road, his plans for the Connaught, the Pavilion Theatre and Assembly Hall, which centre on changing the way they are currently used.

He said: “Are three theatres sustainable in a town of Worthing’s size?

“The answer is not at the moment, but yes in the future.

“These theatres were built in different manners, built in different styles, and built for different uses.

“That is what we’re proposing – to use these buildings in the way they were intended.”

Trustee board

The proposal would involve a volunteer trustee board overseeing the way the theatres were run, as well as an overhaul of ticket prices to make them more consistent, and a change to the productions each building was showing.

He said the Connaught should be used as the town’s premier theatre, while the Pavilion, which has a larger number of seats but a smaller stage, should be used as a variety hall and should hold a greater range of events, including the ice rink in the winter and a roller rink during the summer.

Taking into account these and other adjustments to the way the theatres are currently being run, Jon believes his calculations suggest the theatres could go from losing more than £1 million-a-year to making a £300,000 profit.

Following the proposal, the audience clapped and spoke of enthusiasm for the plans.

Wendy Dowse, secretary of Worthing Symphony Society, said: “The proposals are good and he clearly knows what he talks about.

“But, it’s going to need a lot of work behind the scenes.”