Youngsters make their voices heard in latest Thameside closure protest

By Neil Speight

23rd Sep 2021 | Local News

YOUNG people from local music and dance groups, including Stanford-le-Hope's renowned Youth Creation dance group who starred on TV's Britain's Got Talent turned out for the latest protest against Thurrock Council's plans to close the Thameside Complex, including its theatre.

They marched from and back to the Thameside via Grays High Street and the council's Civic Offices last night. On arrival at the offices there were a number of speakers, including local highly renowned theatre director and Thameside veteran Vic Gray, who had previously made his views known in a scathing attack on the council via Nub News.

Amomg those who joined the youngsters were a number of Labour and independent councillors, including borough mayor Cllr Sue Shinnock.

Grays Riverside ward councillor Martin Kerin summed up their feelings, saying: "Once again the community have come together to show that this is an asset that needs to be saved. It's for the community. We are sick of cuts being made for things that people use in their everyday lives. we are sick of Tory mismanagement which is forcing decisions like this. These protests will get bigger and bigger as we go forward."

Well-known local member of the award-winning Thurrock Courts Players, who are about to stage a production at the Thameside ('A Butler Did it starts tonight - Thursday, 23 September), Mike Jones blamed a lack of foresight from the council, saying: "The council have been very blind, they should have thought about this ten years ago. Why didn't they plan for the future?"

And a former manager of the Thameside Theatre, Mark Allinson, said he was delighted to see so many young people taking part in the protest, adding: "If you have the youth you have the future. This is a demonstration of who really cares about the Thameside."

And former West End professional Rob Seaman, who has worked backstage on many leading shows including Jersey Boys, Aladdin and Mary Poppins and has spoken previously about the future of the Thameside and arts in the borough was thrilled so many youngsters were making their voices heard, saying: "This is an excellent turn out. It is really good to see the youth here this evening, they are the next generation that are going to be using theatres and the Thameside complex and the library and the museum. It's absolutely brilliant there are all these people here."

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