I READ with dismay the story of March 10 about the uncertain future for drama groups at the Albert Halls.
The uncertainty is causing great problems for many of our societies, some of whom may be in imminent danger of closing down because of the lack of a suitable venue for productions. Unfortunately, he problems may continue once the halls are available for amateur productions. As Sandra Blythe said in the story, it costs £20,000 to £25,000 and sometimes even more to produce musicals at the Albert Hall but as I suspect, if charges are increased to hire the halls by 25-35 per cent, it will mean most, if not all societies will not be able t go ahead with productions.
This would be a tremendous loss, The societies would lose out but even more would the many thousands who support and enjoy amateur theatre in our town.
It is thought that Bolton and district had the largest concentration of amateur operatic and dramatic societies in the country. As Paul Cohen, BATS chairman says, this fact should be a jewel in the crown for Bolton, and yet Bolton council do not seem to care. Will there support for amateur theatre to make the hiring of the Albert Halls viable for our societies? When one reads about the council giving £30,000 to solicitors who then made £800,000 profits, surely a tenth of this could be made available for our societies.
We have ACT — Amateur Community Theatre, which was founded with the sole aim of providing a suitable performance venue for local societies. We are actively pursuing our objective and with this in mind, we are hold a Gala Night on Saturday, September 9 at Victoria Hall to raise funds for a feasibility study. We hope that all societies and the Bolton public and beyond will support this venture for the continued wellbeing of the Arts on our town. Another thought — I see Bolton council will be supporting the Iron Man contest and The Food and Drink Festival - excellent. When will Bolton council be supporting a Bolton Arts Festival?