Ryde & Shanklin Theatre Closure Meeting: Live Coverage

Live at the Village Hall in Bembridge
Great turn out from the pubic. The hall is totally full, barely standing room only.
__Question from the public on the floor
Q:How long did the investigation take? No staff met the reviewer at Shanklin Theatre. It’s understood that both sites …

Live at the Village Hall in Bembridge

Great turn out from the pubic. The hall is totally full, barely standing room only.

Live Coverage Ryde & Shanklin Theatre Closures!__Question from the public on the floor
Q:How long did the investigation take? No staff met the reviewer at Shanklin Theatre. It’s understood that both sites were visited in one afternoon. How can it have been thorough.

Q:Bod from Ryde Management Committee.
“Some things will never be profitable and need to be supported,” this needs to be understood by the elected members. You need to listen to the “Community in which you serve.”

A: It’s all down to subsidy vs investment. What’s clear is there’s a wealth of talent in the Island. Both venues require substantial work that need to be made to comply with forthcoming health and safety legislation. The council wants to “offer the best facilities to the Island.”

I haven’t details the answers given in great detail. Frankly you can guess most of the answers that were given – soothing sounds, designed to placate.

Q: Graham, Town Mayor, Shanklin
Read a statement, including – lots of kids form the mainland come over for training (benefiting the hotel trade locally), as well as Islanders that use the Shanklin theatre. The bar has been removed – hardly adult friendly. He suggested 3 years support and for the repairs to be carried out.

Q:Bod from Ryde Management Committee
Not only is The Venue required for entertainment, but it is essential for Ryde to retain a town hall.

A: Staff changes wouldn’t be made “in the immediate short term.” Recognise the iconic status of Ryde Theatre.

__Down to the formal presentation by the councillor, David Pugh
Keen to keep a balance between service and expenditure.

The current yearly support is £25k for Ryde, £115k for Shanklin.

Need to work out can the theatre’s stand on their own two feet?

The last administration took the management of the venues in-house. Not worked out too well.

Both buildings have suffered from considerable under investment.

Issues of both sites are quite distinct.

Ryde Theatre
The Venue used for gigs and the town hall.

Original suggestions were either A or D. Neither of these are correct.

Recommend Option C
Prepare development option and take it to the market. Explore for 24 months how it could be maintained on different commercial terms. Fully test the market for commercial development of the venue. Could become a truly multi-purpose venue.

£103k of work would need to be made to meet health and safety requirements.

Shanklin Theatre
Focus is professionally produced shows. Largely supported by visitors to the Island, and in-turn benefits the the hotel trade.

Significant support from the local residents are supportive of the venue. Public response yielded 649 letters to keep it open, 33 to close.

There’s a wealth of support from the public.

Recommend Options C
Prepare for development options and take it to the market – fixed for 24 months. Council required to make essential repairs to this venue too. Suggest that the public work with the council to maintain and expand the usage. Need to be put on a sound commercial footing.

The presentation have been made, now it’s up to the councillors to ask questions and dig deeper.

Discussions with the councillors
The council isn’t best placed to manage it in the long term. Charitable involvement mentioned. A Trust for Shanklin has been suggested by the town council. Worth exploring.

Bay area member – we know that they can be profitable. “We need find out how.”

David Williams – Shanklin North, “Doing nothing is not an option.” Up to 2,000 children go through Shanklin a week. Essential that the bar is put back in. Town council know it needs supporting as it put in £39k of its own money alone.

Open to the floor again
Recap: Tabled options are Option C for both theatres

Additional amounts that need to be spent on the buildings
£313k – Shanklin
£103k – Ryde

Q: Ryde library to close?
A: No

Q:Why has this meeting been made so inaccessible, holding it in Bembridge?
A: We have a pre-programmed series of events. We felt it was better to make the decision sooner rather than wait to have the meeting in Ryde or Shanklin.

Q: Called the council to ask about the meeting tonight and was told that it wasn’t on and that Ryde theatre wasn’t being discussed. Could communications with the front desk at County Hall be better please.

Rick Stanbridge handed in a report to the councillors with suggested usages for use of Ryde Theatre.

Q: There’s a general bias against the performing arts. Why will the council accept deficits of £1.1m for other leisure facilities, but not support the arts.
This question got the loudest and longest applause of the evening, in an evening where there was a lot of applause from the public.

A: We’re regulated heavily by the government and are obliged to take care of spendings. Leisure facilities will need to go through this same process soon too.

__The Vote
At 18:55

8 vote for both Theatres pursuing Option C. Carried unanimously.

People went away from the meeting appeased, but still not 100% certain that, two years hence, it was going to be the best decision for the people of the Island.

The general consensus was that the council had just put off the decision, or were taking an opportunity to get their arguments for closure or sell off better organised for next time.

It wasn’t fully understood what “commercial avenues” would be pursued during the two years – some feared that this actually meant it would involve finding property developers.

For me this is another illustration of the something that we’ve written about before. Politicians respond to the number of people that are actively supporting or opposing an issue.

If people turn up at meetings, it’s far more likely that is vote will go in favour of the people who have attended.

(Added more thought later too)

This live coverage was made possible by the Vodafone USB 3G Modem.

Tuesday, 10th July, 2007 6:21pm


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Filed under: Bembridge, Community, Isle of Wight Council, Live coverage, Music, Newport, Shanklin, Theatre

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4 Comments on "Ryde & Shanklin Theatre Closure Meeting: Live Coverage"

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lilian mack

what a great shame – there seems to be an epidemic of closing theatres! On holiday we saw a great production of Annie at Shanklin. What about European funding to encourage tourism, isn’t this an option?
There is a campaign to save our local theatre,
See info@walthamforesttheatre.com

Hey Lilian…I can tell you 1st hand that the council have been steadily running down their theatres for years. I also hear that it will be one or the other that closes. People have tried to assist but the council spend more money on mainland consultants than marketing or staff wages. The thousands promised 2 years ago NEVER materialised. They did get Mountjoy to put up some… Read more »


I think the people interested in the Winter Gardens should research on the events as reported in VB that led to the decisions on Ryde & Shanklin theatres. Some useful quotes and info and an insight into outcomes of meetings.