Star Su's Call on City to Save Theatre

Hi-de-hi star Su Pollard has thrown her weight behind the campaign to save the Nottingham Arts Theatre.

The Nottingham actress vowed to help, saying she "owed it all" to the city centre theatre. 

She has demanded a "stay of execution" and called on the city council to bail out the Hockley centre, which is set to shut on Sunday.

The crumbling theatre in George Street, which is a registered charity, needs 65,000 for maintenance costs to keep it going into its next season.

Su said: "I cannot stress too much how absolutely disappointed I am with all this.

"It is a more than useful service that helps with people's development. It gives people a start in life and helps with their confidence."

She said she tried to call Michael Williams, director of leisure and community services at the council, to ask for help.

"I'll keep trying to call him. I know a lot of groups need money, but this really is part of our heritage. And 50,000 is nothing - they have millions to spend."

Su also wants those who run the theatre to be given more time to consider its future.

"I think they should have a stay of execution, at least," she said.

"We need to get everyone round the table and start talking.

"I'm willing to come round and have a chat about things."

Su said she had fond memories of her time at the theatre.

She joined when she was 11 and stayed until she turned professional at 23.

While there, she appeared in Oklahoma!, A Collier's Friday Night by DH Lawrence and pantomimes such as Aladdin.

"I wanted to do nothing but act, but they made me do a bit of everything - I had to go in the box office and do the props," said Su.

"I was encouraged to indulge in every aspect of the theatre.

"They taught you to value committing yourself to something.

"It really helped me and I owe it all to the Arts Theatre."

An anonymous pledge of 20,000 has been made but only on the condition the theatre raises the rest of the cash.

Community groups, dance schools and theatre enthusiasts have all spoken out against the closure.

But the city council said it could not see a future for the theatre.

This Is Nottingham
July 2007