‘Second rate’ unacceptable

Poor old Maltings Theatre, described last October by the county council’s leader as being of international renown, built at taxpayers’ expense only 29 years ago in 1990, and now under a county council decision to support Berwick’s Regeneration Commission’s proposal that it should be demolished and rebuilt.

Saturday, 16th March 2019, 8:00 am

Described in a letter to us by Robert White, of Ravensdowne, as being a modern version of Berwick’s then ‘old fashioned’ Playhouse Theatre, the Maltings is now, it seems, also old fashioned and, again at taxpayers’ expense, likewise deemed for the scrapheap.

Consider the ages of the following, very much alive and still very popular theatres: Theatre Royal, Newcastle, rebuilt 118 years ago after a fire in 1901; Empire, Sunderland, built 113 years ago in 1906; Kings, Edinburgh, built 114 years ago in 1905.

Of course, these theatres were designed by theatre architects whose clients and they knew what they were about and who knew how important it was to have fly towers and scenery doors, etc, facilities which Berwick’s Playhouse Theatre did have, as well as having an audience seating capacity well in excess of the capacity of Berwick’s Maltings.

Providing that The Maltings is currently soundly constructed to take the physical pressures, vibrations and so forth put upon it by a functioning theatre, spending money to turn it into a decent theatre with good sightlines, scenery and props storage, decent scenery doors with running facilities onto the stage, a decent fly tower and trap facilities, perhaps even a paint frame, etc, is possibly a good idea now that The Playhouse is no longer.

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But to knock it down in order to build a second-rate, so-called ‘theatre’ for a few theatrical dabblers is unacceptable.

Finally, ‘Let’s knock some properties down in Marygate to create a piazza so that The Maltings can be seen from Marygate’ some people say.

With respect, what about the rights of the owners of those properties?

Do those who want to knock down other people’s properties so that The Maltings can be seen from Marygate not know that it is, except in exceptional circumstances, unlawful, under the Human Rights Act 1998, to deprive an owner of his property?

Brunskill and Loveday

Bridge Street

Berwick-upon-Tweed