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Campaigners take to the streets in fight to get theatre in Guisborough
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to bring a theatre to an east Cleveland market town took to the streets to show the strength of feeling after losing out on a possible venue.
Earthbeat, which is a theatre group for adults with learning difficulties, is continuing its battle with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.
The march, led by the music of the Teesside Pipe Band, set off from the town's Market Cross on Saturday morning before the campaigners were entertained by live music in Westgate park.
The row erupted in July when the council decided to sell the former register officer to a pub chain instead of the community theatre group.
Protest organiser Tony Galuidi, of Earthbeat, said: "It was a great event, according to the police between 400 and 500 people turned up, including local councillors who turned out to show their support.
"As we were marching through the town people were coming out of the shops and applauding us - it was great to see so much support from people in the town.
"I think the campaign to get a theatre in the town is bringing people together. At the first protest there was around 200 people and since then the numbers of supporters has grown and grown.
"After the march there was even more people in the park to listen to the concert, which was brilliant.
"I think this sends a message to the council that we want a theatre for the town, but we will have to wait and see whether they will listen or not."
However, Council leader George Dunning has said the authority is looking to help the group to find a venue and wants them to get round the table and talk.
He said: "We have produced a list of possible venues across the borough, including some in Guisborough, for them to look at.
"Although they are taking us to court we are still wanting to get round a table and talk to them, it goes against the grain a little bit, but that shows we are wanting to work together and try to sort something out.
"If they really want to get a theatre for Guisborough, or somewhere else in the borough, they should talk to the council, but they don't seem to want to talk to us at this time.
"I'm not against people protesting for what they want, but we both know that the register office was not a venue fit for their purpose."
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