Sir Ian McKellan and Joanna Lumley join fight to save Brampton Little Theatre
TWO more British acting icons have thrown their weight behind a campaign to save a Huntingdonshire theatre and extend it into an arts centre.
Joanna Lumley and Sir Ian McKellan have added their names to a growing list of people desperate to see Brampton Little Theatre survive the demolition of RAF Brampton in 2013.
Both actors have written letters expressing concern about the closure of the venue and offered their support – Ms Lumley sending a signed photograph for auction to help raise funds for the campaign.
Campaigners have also launched an online petition to gather even more public support to save the building, which would be pulled down as part of the redevelopment of the site for 400 homes.
Campaign spokesman Caroline Harbord told The Hunts Post: “Theatrical and musical productions have been appearing and attracting sell-out audiences in Brampton for 50 years.
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“We want to save this perfectly-formed theatre with the adjoining airmen’s mess and turn it into an arts and community centre. This will incorporate a small cinema and a coffee bar with free wi-fi where people can come together to chat or work.
“Three sets of plans have been drawn-up, two in which the theatre is retained and one where it is demolished. Unless we can demonstrate strong public support, there is a very real threat that the theatre will be demolished and an empty community building will be put up in its place.
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“This is not only a waste of money but will do nothing to support the arts in the local community.”
As well as plans to show films, plays and musicals, the group wants the facilities used by bands, choirs and comedians as well as for social functions.
Ms Harbord added: “Apart from Brampton Little Theatre, the nearest purpose-built theatres are in Cambridge or Peterborough. It would be a crying shame if this jewel of a theatre was lost to the community. And what better way to mark the year of the Olympic Cultural Festival than by saving this theatre and turning it into an arts centre that can benefit everyone.”
Simon Maylor, who is on the Brampton Park Theatre committee, said: “We are currently putting together a business plan to show the parish and the district council that it is possible to run the theatre, along with the adjoining airmen’s mess, as an arts and community centre.
“The parish council disputes our claims that this is possible, without any real justification for doing so, which is unfortunate.”
A spokesman for Brampton Parish Council said: “No decision about theatre will be taken until a viable business plan is produced.”
INFORMATION: To sign the petition visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/34990. To find out more about Brampton Little Theatre visit www.bramptonlittletheatre.co.uk