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World’s last remaining end-of-pier show to continue under new management

Tom FitzPatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council, with councillor Judy Oliver and Steve Cutbush and Rory Holburn from Openwide. Photo: Chris Kirby
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The new management of Norfolk’s Cromer pier has vowed to continue its theatre programme, which it claims is the last traditional end-of-the-pier variety show in existence.

North Norfolk District Council, which owns the pier and Pavilion Theatre, has announced resort management company Openwide has been awarded a 10-year contract to run the pier and develop and restore the site.

Works costing £500,000 are planned to revitalise the grade II-listed pier and theatre, including extensive improvements to the theatre’s roof, ventilation and electrical switchboards.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the show, with the pier celebrating its 120th anniversary in 2021.

Executive vice president of Openwide, Rory Holburn, told The Stage that the theatre was an important heritage attraction that the company was “committed to maintaining and continuing its shows as part of the great British seaside tradition”.

“Ultimately it is about creating something that the audience will like.”

He added that Openwide aimed to improve the theatre’s environment, with better electrical works, heating and air conditioning.

“Openwide will evolve the physical space, and although most councils are finding it difficult to secure funding for the arts, we aim to reduce subsidies and run the space commercially,” he said.

The contract to run the pier will begin in February 2018.

Steve Cutbush, Openwide managing director, said: “North Norfolk District Council already has a capital investment plan for the theatre and pier. All these enhancements will add to the pier experience and enable it to evolve into the future as a national treasure and operate without further subsidy.”

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