Letter from Roy Hudd to:
Eric Pickles MP
House of Commons
The Future of the Hippodrome Theatre, Brighton, Sussex
Monday, 4th August, 2014.
Dear Mr. Pickles,
Though not a resident of Brighton I write to you as someone who is closely connected with the town and its theatres.
I am an actor, writer and director of fifty five years standing, a Trustee of Equity, President of The British Music Hall Society and of The Max Miller Appreciation Society.
I, like everyone in my profession, have been carefully following the dramas surrounding the future of the Brighton Hippodrome.
The decision by Brighton and Hove City Council to accept the plans to convert the Hippodrome into an eight-screen cinema with four restaurants has been greeted with dismay by everyone who wants to keep the unique Hippodrome as a fifteen hundred seater theatre. Brighton already has dozens of cinemas and many many excellent restaurants.
The Hippodrome is the only theatre in Brighton capable of staging big spectacular musicals which are the shows so many folk want to see. The Theatre Royal in Brighton is a superb venue for small productions but the Hippodrome is of the size most managements would deem the only profitable showcase for large popular shows. Brighton is well served with theatres but most are small fringe places or concert venues that have no facilities for big touring shows.
The developers have stressed that the rebuilding of the property would be reversible but the present plans include the removal of the fly tower, removal of access for lorries and important backstage areas. To bring them back for theatre use would be a hugely expensive project.
People Power has persuaded the Council to send the plans that they intend to introduce to your good self for a definitive yea or nay. The campaign group OBH (Our Brighton Hippodrome) can tell you all the details of the saga so far in a much better way than I can but I do ask you to please consider the wishes of Brightonians who are desperate to retain their well loved (and potentially highly profitable) Hippodrome.
I apologise for bending your ear so much but I love my business and beg you to save this beautiful historic theatre from extinction.
Roy Hudd OBE