Crewe's Lyceum Theatre under threat, reports Crewe Chronicle
"The curtain could come down for good on Crewe's historic Lyceum Theatre, which will be 100 years old next year. The future of the award-winning theatre is under threat because Cheshire East Council is considering withdrawing its funding. Furious Conservative and Labour councillors in Crewe and Nantwich have blasted the assertion that "the authority can no longer continue to allocate almost £250,000 a year to subsidise the Lyceum".
Cllr David Brickhill (Con), told the Chronicle: "It's the cultural jewel of South Cheshire. I'll fight to the death to keep it open. " His Tory colleague Jacquie Weatherill, who takes over as Crewe's Mayor tomorrow, agreed.
"I'd be devastated if it was to close," she said. "People love the Lyceum and they come from all over to go there."
Labour councillors are delighted some Tories are rebelling to stop Cheshire East cutting the Lyceum's budget.
Cllr Dorothy Flude, who revealed Manchester Camerata was severing its links with Crewe because Cheshire East axed its £7,000 grant, said: "The council was inundated with complaints about that. If they think they can do this to the theatre as a whole, they're in for a big surprise. The whole theatrical world will be up in arms."
She added: "If Crewe had a town council, it could take on some, not all, responsibility for the theatre."
Cllr Chris Thorley said: "The Lyceum is the jewel in the cultural crown of Cheshire East."
Hugh Emerson, of the Northern Pensioner's Association, said: "This council wasted £38,000 of our money last year attending the Tory Conference and Local Government Association Conference... and they'll only guarantee the Lyceum for a year. It's a disgrace."
A Cheshire East spokesman confirmed an "efficiency review" is underway by an independent consultant.
"All options available for the future operation of the Crewe Lyceum Theatre are being considered. When departments across the authority are being forced to take budget cuts, it's essential we prioritise our spending on maintaining services at the high standard our residents expect.
"Given the severe financial pressures, we can no longer allocate almost £250,000 a year to subsidise the Lyceum.
"We're committed to doing all we can to maintain the future operation of the Lyceum but must find a way of which reduces the impact on the budget."
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