A THEATRE group for the over 50s is coming to an end.
The Lawrence Batley Theatre ’s Sunshine Players will stage their last performance on July 4 while the LBT looks at other options to engage older people in theatre.
Members admit they were ‘blindsided’ by the LBT’s decision and Victoria Firth, director of the theatre, said they accept their communication to the Players was “lost in translation”.
Christina Wyatt, on behalf of the Sunshine Players, said: “Unfortunately LBT have just given notice to the group that they are discontinuing the Sunshine Players when the current term ends with a final performance on July 4.
“The news has hit the group very hard, particularly as there has been no consultation and no attempt by the decision makers to even discuss the matter with the group.”
She said the Players is an improvisation drama group which has been in existence for the past six years.
Aimed at the over 50s, Dr Ron Wiener directs the group of up to 12 members who meet every Thursday at the LBT and put in a performance in the Cellar Theatre at the end of each term.
Christina said they perform in the community, at care homes, local schools and lunch clubs.
She said the group wanted to stay together and would consider moving to a new venue to meet and perform in, if one could be found.
Victoria Firth, of the LBT, said: “We are not discontinuing the group, we are taking a pause after the next performance while we look at viable options to work with more people over 55.
“There are funding opportunities on the horizon and we’re meeting other local organisations to look at how we can develop a partnership to provide theatre opportunities for the over 55s.
“It has hit the group quite hard and I’m sorry that some of our intentions were lost in translation.
“We’ve sent letters and are meeting with them to clarify that.
“After the summer break we’ve invited them back to the LBT for an update.”
She said they were working with Kirklees Council and the Arts Council to develop projects which engage people in the theatre and wider arts.