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'We don't want it to be forgotten': Kenneth More Theatre volunteers 'saddened' after final show 'just fizzled out'

PUBLISHED: 12:33 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:55 02 September 2019

KMT, Picture: Andy Locksley

KMT, Picture: Andy Locksley

Archant

Volunteers at the Kenneth More Theatre in Ilford said they were "saddened" by the lack of closure after the theatre's final show "just fizzled out".

KMT's last show took place on Sunday, August 25, after more than 40 years of running performances at the council-owned building in Oakfield Road.

Redbridge Theatre Company (RTC) will leave the venue over "funding issues and rising running costs", according to staff.

Laura Everett, 87, who has volunteered at the theatre for the last 36 years, described the end of the last show as "nothing".

"The show was fantastic, but it just fizzled out", she said. "It just faded out. It was horrible.

"I think we were all saddened that there was no closure. Once the show was over, it just fizzled out.

"Volunteers weren't thanked. No one said thank you for coming or said it was the last show.

"The show could not have been better - it was marvellous. But we don't want KMT to fade away. Why did no one film it? Someone should have said something about it closing or made a speech.

"It's the end of our cosy, family theatre as we know it."

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Alan Hardy, 67, has volunteered at KMT since it opened.

"It was a lovely show but perhaps what upset people was that there was no speech at the end," he said. "But I do understand people were perhaps emotional.

"But it would have been better finished off with a speech at the end to remind people of its history and its closure.

"I think the theatre might have handed over some of its stuff to the library as a reminder of our history.

"We don't want the place to be forgotten as it is today."

But volunteers and helpers were invited to an event earlier this month to thank them for "everything they had done over the years" and for the amount they raised for the theatre.

The invitation to volunteers said: "This has only been achieved with the help of the many willing volunteers who have worked front of house, stuffed envelopes with brochures and newsletters and then walked the streets hand delivering them in order to save the club postage costs.

"Your input has contributed to the wonderful success of KMT."

Jeremy Smith, chair of RTC, said: "We thank the volunteers for their comments expressing the understandable sadness of all involved with the Redbridge Theatre Company following the final show.

"We wish Vision Culture Leisure every success as they take over the running of the theatre this month and look forward to seeing continued support from the public as the new programme of events is announced."

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