Now get involved in Marina’s future
PUBLISHED: 17:33 14 January 2011
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MOVES to secure the long-term future of live entertainment at Lowestoft’s Marina Theatre took another step forward this week as Waveney District Council invited people to play a key role in deciding who should run it.
Concerns were voiced last year about the future of professional shows at the Marina after Waveney failed to find a new operator to take it on.
Also, it emerged that the building could be advertised as an “entertainments or leisure” venue instead.
But fears were allayed six weeks ago when senior councllors met groups willing to take on the day-to-day running of the Marina and Waveney promised to ensure that it remained “a fantastic, nationally-renowned and sustainable theatre”.
Now, in a ground-breaking move, the council is to include the wider public in a key part of the project to safeguard the Marina.
Fresh bids will be invited shortly from groups and organisations interested in running the theatre.
Meantime, the council says it is seeking up to two Waveney residents to take part in the crucial assessment process.
This involves members of the council’s project board marking each bid received against criteria before making a final recommendation on a new operator.
Stephen Ardley, council portfolio holder with responsibility for the theatre, said the two people – who should have no connection with the council – would fulfil a important role in the process.
He added: “Not only are we committed to the best possible future for the Marina Theatre: we are also committed to a transparent process and the objective input and contribution of people from beyond the council.”
Mr Ardley said: “This is not an easy job, as the bidding process is detailed and is framed by strict procurement regulations.
“However, it will be of great benefit to the project and to Lowestoft to have this additional input and support.
“This is the Big Society in action and, given the importance of the Marina, hopefully a great way to provide further reassurance about our intentions.”
Potential applicants will be able to view full details of the role and its requirements from Monday on Waveney’s website, www.waveney.gov.uk
Those chosen will be expected to show an aptitude for some of the complexities of project procurement, be able to attend occasional daytime meetings and have no current or previous association with the Marina.
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