THE MALVERN Theatre Players have had their residency at Malvern Theatres terminated after 37 years of putting on shows at the venue.
The amateur company was informed by the trust which oversees the Grange Road based theatre the agreement between the two would not be renewed in the face of funding reductions and the need to make better commercial use of the property.
Chris Bassett, who manages the players, expressed is surprise at the announcement but said the company will still retain its name.
He said: “Our members, both adult and junior, are disappointed that Malvern Theatres’ management can no longer support the activities of local amateur performers, notwithstanding the amazing level of support that has been provided by these practitioners over many years, especially in the hard times and in view of the fact that the complex continues to receive substantial financial assistance from the local authority.
“We will continue in our current identity. We have a well-established reputation and our name is central to this.
“The company has enjoyed a unique and mutually beneficial residency agreement with Malvern Theatres and survived by producing quality shows and reliably making a significant contribution to the venue’s finances in addition to providing opportunities for many thousands of local people to participate in the performing arts.”
Since 1977 the players have put on more than 120 productions on the main stage including 22 pantomimes.
The last show at the venue was Our Day Out in February.
But the move will not be terminal to the group who have already arranged for the Coach House Theatre next door to be their new permanent home.
Mr Bassett added: “The recent extensions to the theatre, largely funded by players’ members, together with other technical improvements will give the players a terrific opportunity to continue to provide high quality community drama and become more fully involved in the life of their new home.”
He confirmed the company would still provide technical support to other performance groups and continue to add to an archive of material about the history of theatre in Malvern.
Nic Lloyd, chief executive of Malvern Theatres, confirmed the decision.
He said: “We’ve had to make hard decisions due to our funding situation.
“We provide a range of classes, youth theatre groups, dance, art workshops for people of all ages, creative sessions for those with learning difficulties, supporting vulnerable people in the community as well as providing outreach programmes in the local area.
“Unfortunately we’re not able to financially support productions from a local amateur dramatic society, it doesn’t prevent them performing here but we would no longer be able to underwrite it financially.”