Row erupts over venue for Rocky Horror screening in Beccles

Rocky Horror show

Rocky Horror show - Credit: Archant

A row has broken out over plans to screen the Rocky Horror Picture Show in a Beccles church.

Pat Quinn as Magenta in the Rocky Horror Show

Pat Quinn as Magenta in the Rocky Horror Show - Credit: Archant

The screening of the musical comedy horror film was due to take place at St Michael's Church, but organisers have had to find a new home for the event after some parishioners complained the venue was not a suitable setting.

The show is being organised by Kulture Shock, a movie and collectable store in the town, and is to be hosted by Patricia Quinn, who played Magenta in the original stage and film versions.

In the cult classic, a young couple discover the eerie mansion of a transvestite scientist after their car breaks down and after going inside for help run into several wild characters. For the screening, film-goers are encouraged to go along dressed as their favourite character.

The church initially gave permission, but some of the congregation then began to express concerns.


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Mark Bee, county councillor for Beccles and a member of the congregation, said: 'I was unhappy for it to be held in the parish church particularly the day before the first Sunday in Advent. The decision was made by the church but I felt they hadn't consulted widely enough, but with the genuine intention of opening up the church to diverse audiences.

'I think the church is a sacred space and people come to the church really as a place to escape the excesses of the modern world and I think this crossed the boundary for many people.'

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After the complaints were voiced, church officials decided that a new venue should be sought.

The screening will now go ahead at the Sir John Leman High School in Beccles.

David Crothers from Kulture Shock said that, while not criticising the church's final decision, there was still some unhappiness at the move.

He insisted the church would have been a fitting site for the screening, which would have raised money for the church.

He said: 'This was not an overnight decision. It was suggested a few months ago, then we had months of conversations about it with church officials and we discussed it in finer detail how we would protect the church but also make it accessible and friendly, based on the fact the film is a 12A.

'We discussed how we would make sure the church didn't get damaged in any way, we would have security on the door, and it would be no smoking.

'The whole idea was to start using the church as an arts venue to make it accessible to everyone.'

John Howard, spokesman for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: 'This was a difficult, balanced decision taken by those who have responsibility for guiding the life of the local church. It was taken following consultation and in the light of a wide range of views.'

The screening comes almost 40 years since the release of the film and later this month Patricia Quinn will introduce a special gala screening at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The screening will now take place at Sir John Leman High School on November 28, starting at the earlier time of 7.30pm for over 16s only.

Tickets are still available and cost £20 from Kulture Shock. Those with tickets for the original screening are being contacted by the organisers.

•What do you think? Write giving your full name and contact details to Beccles and Bungay Journal Letters, 20 Blyburgate, Beccles, NR34 9TB or email lynn.crombie@archant.co.uk

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