Theatrical tragedy

WELL done Arts Council – you have kicked one of Northumberland’s most successful theatres squarely in the teeth.

Your failure to back Alnwick Playhouse with a single penny of funding from 2012, while handing massive increases to neighbouring ventures, is a monstrous injustice.

Likewise, the Northumberland Theatre Company, based at the Playhouse, has also been bypassed.

You have ignored what is one of our greatest success stories, a theatre run on a shoestring which still manages to produce one of the most varied and entertaining programmes possible.

Yet each year, it struggles by, only propped up by the boundless enthusiasm of its trustees and volunteers, who are forced to go cap in hand for whatever scraps of support they can find.

And still it succeeds in its mission to provide a first-class venue for arts and entertainment.

Compare that to the giant rises given to Berwick Maltings and the Queen’s Hall in Hexham – more than £1million will be shared between the two over the next five years. Both are excellent venues and a credit to their communities. We don’t begrudge them the money.

But how is it fair or equitable to so heavily favour only two of rural Northumberland’s three theatres? Surely a case could be made for assisting them all.

We can only hope that our county council will step in to the breach, although we’re under no illusions that finding money during the current economic climate will be easy.

Alnwick Playhouse and Northumberland Theatre Company, for all the pleasure they bring, deserve better than this.