Users of Burnham-On-Sea’s Princess Theatre have gathered together to display their united support for the theatre and call on councillors to continue to give it funding.
It comes as town councillors are set to meet this week to consider what level of funding will be earmarked to the theatre over the coming year amid debate in recent weeks about its costs.
Sarah Loveridge from long-running drama group Burnham Excellent Entertainment Society (BEES), which regularly holds events there, who was among the dozens of users at Sunday’s gathering.
She says: “We’ve issued this grey photo of the group to symbolise how without the colour, life and vibrancy of the theatre and arts, they would be just shades of grey. The photo shows our local community with one thing in common: our Princess Theatre.”
She adds: “The theatre is in the heart of every person pictured. People of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs come together to do something they love in our theatre; crafting, singing, musical theatre, or audience member.”
“She is our home. A place where we all can meet, to enjoy being part of this town; learning, teaching, performing, socialising, building confidence and making friends with others, who’s paths may never have crossed. If only the walls of the Princess could talk and say what we mean to her.”
“We would like to thank Unroyal Choir, Somerset fellowship of Drama, Project Play, Lisa Jane School of Dancing, West Huntspill Players, Peaty Sea Theatre, Highbridge Festival, Dancefit, the Friends of the Princess, crafters, coffee drinkers and audience members who joined with BEES to show our love and support to the Princess. This theatre is more than bricks, it’s us.”
In November, it was reported that The Princess Theatre had forecast it would make approximately £50,450 of income during the coming year on expenditure of £240,433, leaving £189,983 to be funded by tax payers or drawn partly from the council’s reserves, prompting a debate about its viability.
However, a revised budget was considered by councillors during a council meeting on December 14th which forecasted higher income of £68,550 during the coming year on expenditure of £239,103, leaving £170,553 to be funded by tax payers or reserves.
A petition supporting the theatre – signed by over 160 local people – was handed to the council during the December 14th meeting, while several residents present told the council that more consultation on the theatre’s finances is needed.