Save Bournemouth’s historic Pier Theatre

Save Bournemouth's historic Pier Theatre
Bournemouth's Pier Theatre Bournemouth's Pier Theatre

A FORMER mayor is calling for Bournemouth’s historic Pier Theatre to be saved for future generations.

Earlier this year a raft of new pier attractions were refused planning permission, despite assurances that they would create more than 30 jobs.

Openwide International, which has a lease agreement on the pier, wanted to install a nautical-themed high ropes course and a zip line to launch riders across the sea to the beach. The company also sought approval for a standing surf wave ride on the landmark structure.

A question mark has hung over the ageing pier theatre’s future for several years with high running costs and dwindling audiences taking their toll on income from performances.

But deputy mayor Cllr Phil Stanley-Watts says more investment is needed to preserve the “iconic attraction.”

He added: “It is an integral part of our holiday industry and many people want to see it staying open.

“I would also like to see a water bus transporting local residents and visitors from the pier to other local destinations.”

His comments came after attending a summer variety show opening night featuring an impressionist, illusionists, comedian, pianist, dancers and vocalists.
Cllr Stanley-Watts added: “I enjoyed the new show, which is being staged every Wednesday until October 9; it’s excellent entertainment and brings back very fond memories of the old pier theatre shows.

“I really hope local residents and visitors support these events.”

But Rory Holburn, commercial and operations director for Openwide International, said: “The Pier Theatre isn’t financially viable. Unless you are in the West End, theatres require a subsidy of more than £250,000 a year. It is also competing with the BIC and Pavilion.

“As part of our plans for the pier we are looking at ways to turn it into a vibrant space, not as a traditional theatre but with some sort of performance space for families.

“We are still looking at alternatives which will be commercially viable and will also win approval from council planners.”

Bournemouth Echo

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