Trustee speaks out over theatre move

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A board member of the Theatre Royal trustees has spoken out over the lack of information they have been given to make a decision over a proposed management merger with the Apex.

The board member, who wishes to remain anonymous, revealed that at least three other members do not feel they have all of the paperwork needed to make an informed decision.

The trustee has contacted the Charity Commission to clarify their own duties as a trustee.

They said: “It was to clarify my position as a trustee and highlight there was a serious change being considered for my charity that I felt I needed guidance.”

It follows concerns raised at a meeting at the Theatre Royal on Tuesday night, which was attended by about 40 people after a request by volunteers to discuss the proposed merger.

Julia Salmon, who volunteers as a heritage guide at the Bury St Edmunds theatre, says she and others will voice their concerns over the move to the Charity Commission.

According to Mrs Salmon and the board member, it was revealed at the meeting that two other members of the theatre’s board had signed a confidentiality clause relating to the Apex.

The board member confirmed they had asked to see the contract but had been refused.

Mrs Salmon also attended an Open Space discussion on the theatre’s future two weeks ago, where it was heard that two other options had not been considered by the board.

She said that at the meeting on Tuesday there was a show of hands after one volunteer asked - as a straw poll indicator on the mood of the room - whether they had confidence in the chairman of the board Brian Stewart.

Mrs Salmon said: “It was unanimously taken that they did not.”

The board member clarified that the two other options for the theatre’s future had been merged so the venue could operate on its own but share services with the Apex and other artistic operations.

They added that the board members present at the meeting on Tuesday abstained from the vote.

The board member added that the Charity Commission ‘have nothing to investigate’ yet as no decision has been taken.

A statement from the board about the volunteer meeting said: “The Board will take the robust and frank views of this important and essential sector of the Theatre’s community into close consideration as part of its due diligence deliberations.”

It is expected that the board will make a decision ‘in principle’ on Tuesday November 6.