Hunstanton’s Princess Theatre customers are being refunded - according to former manager

Theatre's future still in the balance after closure earlier this month

The director of the company which ran Hunstanton's Princess Theatre before it suddenly closed earlier this month said refunds are being given to customers who had booked tickets.

Paul Jervis, who ran C and R Cinemas (Hunstanton) Ltd, said money was being refunded within 48 hours of receiving claims by customers posting the details to a box office number.

Mr Jervis said the failure of his company to keep the seaside theatre open was down to a lack of custom and support - with only five tickets sold for one show which had been due to be staged in the run-up to Christmas.

He said yesterday that his remaining companies, including the management of King's Lynn's Majestic cinema were 'still strong' and were in no way affected by what had happened in Hunstanton.

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Mr Jervis added that production companies which had been booked to present shows had been cancelled and the keys to the venue had been returned to West Norfolk Council which owns the building.

His company took over the running of the Princess in September 2010 when the council said it could no longer afford the �360,000 subsidy needed to keep the theatre open.

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The future of the theatre remains uncertain and the doors are locked while the council searches for another company to take it over.

Staff from King's Lynn's Corn Exchange, also owned by the council, were drafted in to help ensure a local production by the Theatre Club went ahead as planned last weekend - but the council said that was the only show it would stage.

Theatre-goers and residents were shocked when a sign appeared on the door at the beginning of this month saying that the theatre would no longer be running.

Former performers, including Keith 'Appy Hopkins who played the pantomime dame for 12 years, said they were devastated by the news.

'I enjoyed 12 glorious years as Dame at the Princess, and to allow it to get into such a sorry state is utterly unbelievable,' he said.

A meeting between the town and borough council was told of other parties who may be interested in running the theatre, but it is believed the interest was only in a short-term lease.

The Princess originally opened in 1932 as a cinema and was taken over by West Norfolk Council in 1981 before being leased to the new team from September last year.

Businessman Paul Jervis had high hopes for the Princes and speaking at the time, he said the company planned to build on its previous successes and wanted to include a new programme of cinema.

Customers requiring a refund should write to: PO Box 10164, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3YE.

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