Acting now for the future
Worthing has a rich theatrical tradition, exemplified by its three working theatres – The Connaught, The Pavilion and the Assembly Hall. Like many other towns, Worthing is experiencing difficulties funding these and a working group has been set up to create a Public Trust via a Company Limited by Guarantee to take the theatres into community ownership. Worthing Theatres Trust will be headed by Jon Woodley who has led the Save Worthing Theatres campaign to date and a dedicated team of volunteers on the Trust Board with a blend of skills appropriate to the task.
Consider the history. Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE appeared in several plays at the Connaught in the 1950s. Winston Churchill visited the theatre in 1956 to see his daughter Sarah perform in Terrence Rattigan’s play Variation on a Theme. Harold Pinter acted at the Connaught under the stage name of David Baron, taking residence in the town centre just a few yards from the theatre in Ambrose Place in the 1960s. Pinter’s first wife, actress Vivien Merchant, acted at the Connaught during this period. Giles Cooper worked with Pinter at the Connaught. Robin Maugham wrote several plays which he directed and premiered at the Connaught, including The Claimant (1962) and Winter in Ischia (1964). Actress Marina Sirtis, perhaps best known for her role in Star Trek: The Next Generation, began her career in rep at the Connaught in 1976 and lived in the town. Actor Robert Blythe has also worked in repertory theatre at the Connaught.
The Trust intends to re-introduce Repertory Theatre to the Connaught. However, this project needs the support of the public of Worthing in order to succeed. We want to raise £800,000 in the next few months to sustain the theatres in the first few months of post-Council ownership. We need £5,000 immediately in order to set up a charity account and start the work of establishing the Trust. We have already created a brand identity, a website and a structure for the Trust.
Now it’s your turn. Please go to our website and sign up as Supporters. There will be an opportunity there to contribute money and in kind. We believe that Worthing needs its theatres. The theatres, in order to survive, need you. It’s time for you to take centre stage.
Curtains for theatre in Worthing? Not if we can help it.