IAN HART Connaught Theatre at the heart of Worthing

Scare tactics or a real threat from the council?

Are we going to lose both the Assembly Hall and the Connaught Theatre in the very near future?

It’s a return to the classic example of how the required spending cuts are administered.

Clearly cuts have be made, but surely there is enough waste elsewhere in the council that could be stopped before we start shutting entertainment venues?

Then again, is this previous mistakes coming back to haunt us?

Which councillors decided to let the 1,000-seat Plaza, with its West End theatre backstage facilities, become a bingo hall? (I’m sure at least one reader will recall this “groundbreaking” decision).

With the Plaza as our premier theatre, with a capacity to attract high profile shows and concerts, would the make-up of the town have changed?

How many restaurants and bars might have opened, and stayed opened, at that end of the town centre?

Returning to the Connaught, it’s not the first time this threat has hung over the venue.

I seem to recall a couple of local theatre people actually going on hunger strike.

I’m certainly not advocating such drastic action this time, but I’m sure a campaign will develop with, no doubt, our very own Worthing Musical Comedy Society at the forefront.

They have existing bookings at the theatre this spring and autumn, but nothing confirmed into 2012.

With the level of excellent productions they put on I cannot see how they can put on shows anywhere else in Worthing.

A classic example is two of their recent quality shows, the Producers and Beauty and the Beast, which could not have been staged at the Pavilion Theatre.

As for the Assembly Hall, it’s perhaps a different matter; as a venue it’s been a dinosaur for years, and an overpriced one at that.

Apparently it’s a listed building so it can’t be knocked down.

Shame the same couldn’t be said for the Odeon.

If it’s not cost effective, as we’re being told, why not totally gut the building and put an ice rink inside, it’s big enough, there’s plenty of parking and it might actually bring people into Worthing.

As for the Connaught, I cannot see how they can shut it, and I will certainly join any campaign to keep it open, no doubt lining up against the people who want to develop it along with the old police station site and the NCP car park.

Forget council cuts, that could be the real reason...

Burger bar

Many thanks to the readers who got in touch with the name of the burger bar in Montague Street, it was called the Wine and Diner.

Martin Simpson recalls it was owned by Barry Thomas, and remembers using the place in tandem with a pint in the White Hart. The restaurant, although sadly long gone, proved to be a stepping for one of Worthing’s top restaurateurs, as the Parsonage owner Wayne Lowrey worked there as a chef in his younger days.