Collegians to pull out of town or face bankruptcy

FINAL FAREWELL This year's production of South Pacific.
FINAL FAREWELL This year's production of South Pacific.

Dewsbury Collegians plan to move their annual production out of the town because they face bankruptcy if they continue hiring Dewsbury Town Hall.

The Collegians, first established in 1932, have booked Ossett Town Hall – which costs £2,000 less to hire – for next summer’s show.

The cost to the group of putting on a show at Dewsbury is around £13,000.

Treasurer Dudley Ward said: “We don’t want to desert Dewsbury but we’re not being helped by the local authority.”

Kirklees stopped the Collegians selling coffee, sweets and ice-creams at their shows, which brought in hundreds of pounds.

“We can’t afford to lose any more money,” Mr Ward said. “We lost £4,000 at our last show (South Pacific).”

The panto will continue to be staged at the town hall.

Dewsbury Chamber of Trade president Trish Makepeace said: “The town hall was put there for the people but now it has become a business. If Wakefield can do it for people, why can’t we?”

A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said venue charges were reduced by 25 per cent in 2008 to support local groups and had only increased by around three per cent since.

“We have also increased support to all local main stage hirers across Kirklees Town Halls to include additional marketing, box office, technical and front of a house support at no extra cost,” she added.

The spokeswoman said Kirklees had approached the group to offer another venue, but Mr Ward said he was not aware of this.