10:00am Saturday 5th January 2013
Almost every day, we read about the Weymouth Pavilion and what may happen to it.
People are falling over themselves stating the obvious: All the various amateur groups that need a theatre and would be lost without one, they state how we need professional shows for a town which caters for tourism, of how it currently acts as a venue for countless other events throughout the year. There is no argument to any of this.
But there is one all important thing which stands out a mile and for many, they either seem to turn a blind eye or pretend it doesn’t exist. Before I follow this through, let me digress a moment.
Three years ago, we moved to Weymouth from the Midlands where we were at least 100 miles from the sea. This meant we took holidays all round the UK.
We would always ensure we visited the theatre of whichever resort we happened to be in. I have spent quite a time recalling those days and something started to emerge as my recollections took me from location to location.
That one thing is the fact that I cannot think of one theatre which is so isolated. Who in their right mind would study the winter programme and select a show, then plan what could be a nightmare to reach and return from this building stuck halfway to nowhere?
No doubt most of you drive, but for one moment, if you want ‘bums on seats’, you need to consider and cater for everyone. that is the elderly, the non-drivers etc. Currently if you don’t drive, your bus will will drop you off at Debenhams, you then have to make the best decision to weave your way along the Esplanade and hope the wind and rain doesn’t soak you before you arrive.
I would like to suggest to each of you that advocate the Pavilion remain insitu, that you say to yourself, would we as a family be prepared to make the journey back and forth in the winter and use public transport?Further to that, may I suggest you pose this question to one other family. You don’t need to be a clairvoyant to guess the answer.
Criticising is one thing, coming up with a solution is something different. What I would say to you is this. If a suitable building could be found/converted in the town centre, in a location that was just a couple of minutes from a bus route, then possibly this would be the answer to everything. Theatregoers could remain in the theatre after a show. Those who drive, would have the multi-story car park as an extra. Ideally the cinema, TK Maxx, Debenhams location would perfect. Even an extended Colwell Shopping Centre would in my opinion be ideal.
You simply need to accept that no matter how much money is invested in the theatre as we know it, no matter how many shows are produced, people will not support it stuck where it is. Weymouth really does need a theatre, but one that is user friendly.
C Hobbs Doncaster Rd, Weymouth
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