Published: May 1, 2012
Burnham-On-Sea theatre given a boost as it celebrates first birthday

Burnham-On-Sea's Princess Theatre has this week celebrated its first birthday under the management of the town council and announced a major programme of improvements for the coming year.

The Town Council took over the theatre from Sedgemoor District Council last Spring and has brought it back from the brink of closure.

Cllr Peter-Burridge Clayton, who chairs the Princess Management Committee, told "I am pleased to say that under the control of the Town Council the cost of running the theatre has been halved in a year despite the fact that we employ two full-time staff. I am determined the Princess will go from strength to strength."

A major refurbishment programme of the exterior of the building is currently underway following recent enhancements that the introduction of free wi-fi, the launch of a booking office and 40 solar panels on its roof.

"The next phase of improvements will be the stage, sound and lighting. After listening to our user groups and our desire to bring quality performers to the town we feel we should offer quality equipment to match," said Peter.

"Our bar area will also be given a fresh look with new flooring, a new shuttered bar and more traditional bar furnishings with some soft seating combined. This will be re-named The Arts Bar."

He added: "Over the next year we will also be launching a variety of youth and community arts programmes including a young writer's course, youth drama programmes, amateur dramatic groups and an artists' forum."

"The Princess Youth Theatre group will also be up and running in the next few weeks."

He added that new exterior illuminated signs have been ordered and these will be installed as soon as the scaffolding comes down, in addition to new tourist-style brown signs along Princess Street.

"The Friends of The Princess have also been very involved and active over the past year and their support has been invaluable, along with the dedication and time put in by the manager Andy Pulleyn," said Peter.

"We are also pushing forward with our financial projections plan and our thanks go to our financial advisor, Alex Turco, who has given us his time free in assisting the management committee and with a grant application." first reported on the transferal of ownership of The Princess from Sedgemoor District Council to Burnham and Highbridge Town Council.

The improvements are being funded from £90,640 of 'transitional funding' which the Town Council received from Sedgemoor District Council during last year's handover of the building.

Pictured: Burnham councillor Peter Burridge-Clayton with the Mayor Michael Clarke and theatre manager Andy Pulleyn celebrating the anniversary


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