Priory could be theatre

ST NEOTS could get a new outdoor entertainment area where fetes and open-air performances could be held this summer. The town council is in talks with Huntingdonshire District Council to take full control of the Priory Plaza, which is the courtyard area i

ST NEOTS could get a new outdoor entertainment area where fetes and open-air performances could be held this summer.

The town council is in talks with Huntingdonshire District Council to take full control of the Priory Plaza, which is the courtyard area in front of the Priory centre.

If the town gets control of the licence for the area, it is hoped that national companies - including the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company - will perform in St Neots.

Philip Devonald, town clerk, told colleagues at a council meeting that the move would allow the council to utilise the space for everyone.


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"It would allow us to tidy up the area in front of the Priory Centre and open it to the public."

The plans would include sprucing up the area before opening the courtyard up for fetes and performances by theatre companies and bands.

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Councillor Derek Cooper told The Hunts Post: "There is no party political divide on this. We are all in agreement. It would be good for the town, for tourists and for people who live here.

"It would have to be tarted up and then we might attract operatic companies and even the Royal Shakespeare Company.

I have heard that they might be interested."

Although it will cost a few thousand pounds a year to maintain the area and book the acts, the town mayor, Councillor Paul Ursell thinks it is a worthwhile expense.

"I think for a few thousand pounds it is a really good investment that could benefit a lot of people.

"It is just such a great opportunity for the summer because it is a lovely courtyard area just off the High Street in a prime location but secluded from traffic.

"We could put picnic chairs and tables outside for people of all ages to enjoy an open air show. It would be great for the town as there is nothing else like this in St Neots. The area has got such great potential."

Christine Suggars, publicity manager for St Neots-based amateur dramatics company VAMPS said: "It would be something we would consider using as we have performed on the Market Square in the open air, which was popular."

Huntingdonshire District Council, which owns the Priory Centre and leases it to St Neots Town Council, is said to be behind the move.

Mr Devonald added: "Nothing is agreed yet. We are negotiating the licence agreement.

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