Closure threat for century-old group

Matlock Music Theatre performing South Pacific

Matlock Music Theatre performing South Pacific

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AN AMATEUR dramatics group is hoping to prevent the curtain falling on more than a century of theatrical performances.

Financial troubles and a lack of local theatre space is threatening to bring an end to Matlock Musical Theatre.

Formerly known as the Matlock Operatic Society, a team of performers and singers has staged musical shows around Derbyshire since 1907.

But there is growing concern that their days are numbered.

Member Jo Petch explained: “The society has, this year, been in a position of jeopardy.

“In part, it’s due to the cuts in government funding of the arts, making it harder to find funding opportunities.

“The economic climate is causing a decline in audience’s numbers and due to the continued hike in outgoings for venues and services, the cost of putting on a show continues to rise.

“The committee had to take a very serious decision this year about continuing to drive the group forward or calling it a day.

“We chose the former and we have spent the winter putting on various fundraising events to make it viable.”

The group has raised enough money to continue with their summer performance, but is calling for support for future events – including financial sponsorship from businesses or organisations – to help stave off the threat of closure.

They plan to mark the Diamond Jubilee with a play about the Queen’s 60 years with show tunes, pop songs and comedy snippets from each decade.

‘Right Royal Revue’ will be performed at Calver Village Hall, Medway Centre in Bakewell and Wirksworth Town Hall, with the opening night being at Matlock’s Imperial Rooms starting on June 15.

Despite securing small venues, Jo says the lack of larger theatre space is stifling growth. They perform their annual musical at Chesterfield’s 500-seater Pomegranate theatre, but admit they would love to return to the area.

“We hope this will change with the exciting development of the Pavilion project [in Matlock Bath] coming to fruition in the next few years.,” added Jo.

For details log onto www.matlock-musical-theatre.org.uk or phone Jo on 07881 908678.