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Final curtain for theatre drama as am dram society throws in towel

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 24, 2012

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THE curtain may finally have come down on the Brixham Theatre saga after Brixham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society decided to throw in the towel.

BOADS and the Brixham Arts and Theatre Society have been at odds for over two months following a decision by Brixham Town Council sub committee to give the management of the port's theatre to one group against the wishes of the other.

Last week's town council meeting was expected to confirm an earlier decision to rescind the authority's original decision on the management of the theatre.

However, BOADS told councillors that it would 'graciously withdraw' and let BATS manage the theatre so long as it accepted a series of conditions regarding access to facilities and use of equipment, in exchange of which, the group will give £7,000 to BATS over three years to help with the running costs.

Cllr Martyn Hodge, who was chosen as a mediator between the two groups, read out BOADS conditions.

He added: "I hope that BATS will take this away and that this will be the end of the matter so we can all work together to make the theatre a viable proposition for Brixham and a place for everyone to enjoy."

After the meeting, he added: "No-one wants to get into a slanging match."

Gillian Bovey, chairman of BOADS, added: "We don't have time to get into a fight with BATs. We have a show to put up.

"We don't know what we have done to upset them so much but we just want to get on with things.

"We care passionately about Brixham Theatre but if they don't accept those conditions which are quite reasonable, then we won't put on our shows and that will probably be the end of Brixham Theatre. Without these conditions we cannot run our shows.

"It will be hard to make the theatre work but we want to work with BATS for the good of the theatre like we've always done. This situation is simply ridiculous. Let's put an end to it for the good of the theatre."

The decision to transfer the running of the theatre to BOADS was taken by a sub committee of the council with the chairman's vote being the decider. It led to an angry exchange between the two groups and left many people in Brixham upset by the decision.

After the meeting, Cecilia Kean, a retired theatre manager and chairman of BATS, said some of the conditions wanted by BOADS were unacceptable because they contravened fire safety rules and would not be covered by any insurance.

She said the theatre had to be brought up to the 21st century and used by everyone for the good of the town.

Mrs Kean added: "There will be further debate on the BOADS points and we will meet with Martyn Hodge to see if we can sort things out.

"We have no trouble with BOADS or any other group in the town.

"While BATS fully appreciates that BOADS has been used to working in their set way in the theatre for a great many years, changes have to be made, or enforced, for it to go forward, and this will mean change for everyone.

"What BATS cannot do is give favours and advantages to one group of users at the expense of other groups, or that will hinder the progress of turning Brixham Theatre back into the thriving and buzzing cultural centre it used to be.

"We hope the spirit of common sense will prevail, both with BOADS and Brixham Town Council."

Brixham Town Council decided to defer its decision to allow all parties to digest the BOADS proposal.

Cllr Chris Lomas said: "Let's make this viable for all."

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