SIR: As Friends of Play to the Crowd, a charitable enterprise, we found the very negative and depressing letter from Keith Webb a very one-sided and damaging presentation of its current plight.

The theatre is not just for the ‘better off.’ Recent years have seen an enormous improvement in TRW work in the community, especially its University links and excellent outreach work with young people. There is a very good range and breadth of events, drama, music, comedy, entertainment through every programme year, something for everyone.

Throughout the last 30 years the investment by HCC, WCC and others has helped to attract a wider and diverse audience. From a rather sad and dilapidated old cinema, TRW has substantially risen from the rubble to become one the UK’s most sought after provincial and intimate theatre venues, precisely because of its size and varied programme content. Its organisational capacity to host the annual Hat Fair is one of the most sought after outdoor theatrical events in the UK with people coming from all over the world as visitors and participants.

Local public subsidy for the arts is vital and that spending is very much appreciated. We are pleased to see WCC and HCC using our money to support artistic endeavour, keeping this small, beautiful and iconic venue alive, entertaining thousands of people annually. Unfortunately, like the county libraries, it has been subject to severe cuts. The C19 pandemic has thrown all our lives into a degree of disarray and forced change. Direct government subsidy for the arts and especially small venues like the TRW is still not yet a sufficiently high priority. The arts have suffered dreadfully, but their place in recovery from C19 merits strong and unequivocal support.

We urge everyone to support the Play to the Crowd appeal as much as they can, every little helps, the advert says. A multi-faceted arts venue in our community is essential to help recovery and enrich our lives. Becoming philistines and dismissing the importance of local public culture is not a reasonable choice. Let’s trust PTTC and treasure our theatre!

Peter and Maggie Rees,

Monarch Way,