Typically provides five volunteers

IT IS not surprising that Weston's councillors receive so much criticism when they display their complete ignorance of matters they are dealing with in the manner of Cllr Peddlesden

IT IS not surprising that Weston's councillors receive so much criticism when they display their complete ignorance of matters they are dealing with in the manner of Cllr Peddlesden, who obviously has no idea how the Playhouse functions and roles of those who work there either voluntarily or as paid members of staff. For his information and those of your readers who do not know, the Friends of the Playhouse typically provide five volunteers at each performance who book-in an hour before 'curtain up', greet the audience as they arrive, answer any queries they may have, sell programmes and check/take their tickets. After the show has started they count the ticket stubs and report the total to the manager and are then free to go home. The 'greeter' remains until the end of the interval to help with any problems during that time.This means that the time spent at the theatre by 80 per cent of the Friends is about an hour and a half.Cllr Peddlesden's suggestion that they be asked "to take on more responsibilities, including ushering audience members to their seats" would mean that they would need to remain a further two and a half to three hours in order to carry out all of the ushers duties, which do not finish until well after the audience has left (much longer in the case of Ken Dodd!). Furthermore they would all need to be fully trained in all the aspects of health and safety relevant to their duties which include changing posters inside and outside the theatre, etc. I suggest this would be asking, not to mention expecting, too much, don't you? It would also be abhorrent to most Friends I'm sure, to think they were depriving the current team, largely of youngsters, of worthwhile employment.As for the aim "to get rid of the subsidy within a year", the best way to do that is by helping the staff at the Playhouse not by making life more difficult for them. And where are the road signs directing visitors to the Playhouse which have been asked for so many times? I have been told on several occasions by latecomers how difficult it was to find the place.Finally, I would say if it is only costing the people of North Somerset £200,000 a year between them, to ensure the visitors to the area who spend millions of pounds in our town each year have first rate live entertainment, then they are getting good value for their money and making belt-tightening measures at the theatre is not the way to move forward. IAN GIBSON - Chapel Road, Rooksbridge


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