Praise for Hunstanton theatre as panto plan is revealed

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The operators of Hunstanton’s Princess Theatre will be staging their own pantomime for the first time in many years later this year, it has emerged.

Although theatre operators do not plan to reveal more details of the production until next week, the news is another boost to the venue’s already star-studded 2015 line-up.

Top names from the world of entertainment including Joan Armatrading, Jim Davidson, Ken Dodd, Joe Pasquale, Leo Sayer and Midge Ure are already set to appear at the theatre over the coming months.

And the pantomime plan was revealed during questions posed to regeneration portfolio holder Alistair Beales during Thursday’s West Norfolk Council meeting.

He said: “They are very busy in the summer. It’s really going very well.

“The next step they hope is to get into profit, at which point the council will look at rent levels. It’s a success.

“They will be running a pantomime this year. They’ve made a big commitment to that and it’s reflected in everything they do.

“They’re booking good acts and I’m confident they’re here for the long term.”

Mr Beales’ comments followed a meeting he held with theatre operators earlier this month to discuss the potential impact of nearby building works on the site.

The council is currently in negotiations with McCarthy and Stone over the possibility of the company using part of the car park next to the theatre during building work on its planned retirement apartment block in St Edmund’s Terrace.

The development was given planning permission on appeal last October after initially being rejected by the borough council.

Mr Beales admitted that he was minded to conclude such an agreement, which would leave 46 parking spaces open to the public, if sufficient financial compensation could be secured from the developer.

He said: “One of the local concerns raised was what would the effect be on the Princess Theatre.

“One of the reasons I went to see the operators was to discuss that. It was really, with the sums generated, can we do anything for them?

He added: “The investments we made to the front of the theatre as landlord have worked extremely well.”

The meeting also heard that a report on the car park proposal is set to be presented to members of the council’s ruling cabinet shortly.