Call for “constructive dialogue” about changes at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich

Stash Kirkbride, right, and Peter Beck in the Maddermarket Theatre's bar area. Picture: DENISE BRADL

Stash Kirkbride, right, and Peter Beck in the Maddermarket Theatre's bar area. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

Fifty people have signed a letter detailing 'serious misgivings' about recent changes at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich.

The theatre's board of trustees has decided not to renew the two-year contracts of joint creative directors, Stash Kirkbride and Peter Beck, and since then there has been an outpouring of support for the duo who have overseen an ambitious revamp of the venue and championed a diverse programme.

An open letter to the trustees was published online with people asked to add signatures and comments if they agreed with its contents that largely centred on the way the decision about the changes was taken. Fifty people put their names to the letter which was emailed to the trustees yesterday.

An accompanying email from 'Supporters of the Maddermarket' said: 'We are writing to present the attached open letter, which details our serious misgivings regarding the recent changes at the theatre...The signatories of the letter are a combination of customers, players, volunteers, actors, local business owners, and other stakeholders who share a love for the Maddermarket.'

It asked for a 'constructive dialogue' about the current situation.

'At the very least, we urge that you respect the effort we put into articulating our viewpoint by responding in kind,' it said.

As previously reported, the trustees have defended the reorganisation plans that include creating roles for a general manager and an artistic director, and have said Mr Beck and Mr Kirkbride were welcome to apply for the roles.

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Susan Seddon, chairman of the board of trustees, said: 'We will get back directly to the people who have written the letter but we obviously want to make a considered response. They have taken a lot of trouble to put together a case which they want us to answer so we equally want to take time to consider our response.'

She said the board was next due to meet in April.

Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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