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Help Helen's theatre quest

PUBLISHED: 17:54 02 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:18 05 July 2010

TELEVISION personality and presenter Helen McDermott has thrown down the gauntlet for people to meet her and discuss ways of ensuring the future of a community theatre.

TELEVISION personality and presenter Helen McDermott has thrown down the gauntlet for people to meet her and discuss ways of ensuring the future of a community theatre.

She is keen to speak to people who want to use the Seagull Theatre in a bid to stage events at the complex in Morton Road, Pakefield.

As chairman of the advisory group, which has been set up to help run the building and keep it functioning, she has been given the role of trying to get feedback from community groups and organisations keen to get involved in using the theatre's facilities.

“I'm really keen for people to come along and talk to me about how they feel that they could use and add ideas for the Seagull.

“Do they have something to give to the theatre as we are anxious to keep it open as it's a wonderful resource for the area and the town?” she said.

Ms McDermott is hoping those interested will come along and talk to her on Friday, May 9, between 10.30am and 4pm, and she will welcome ideas and initiatives.

“We really want to find out what people want and are keen for them to share it with us,” she added.

“It is a community theatre and it would be great to get things going again especially after the very successful First Flight.”

During three weeks over October and early November the festival featured a host of entertainment and events from plays to dance and music to heritage initiatives.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes the advisory group is meeting regularly to help progress ideas and initiatives to ensure the future of the building including obtaining grants and funding.

The theatre was closed by Suffolk County Council in the summer of 2006 but with the help of a huge community effort, backed up by an anonymous benefactor, the building was purchased.

Since then there have been fundraising projects that have helped renovate parts of the building and the First Flight season proved a huge success.

Meanwhile, the anonymous benefactor, who bought the site from the county council and put up nearly £300,000 to save the building giving it over to the community as part of an 18-month interest free loan in the hope of getting it operating again, has extended the loan period to October 2011.

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