CAMPAIGNERS say they can keep the bulldozer at bay from Weymouth Pavilion.

They are busy putting together a formal business plan to keep the theatre going after councillors said it was too expensive to run.

Theatre users got together to discuss the plan and show a united front to save the theatre.

The Save the Pavilion proposal is fronted by Weymouth residents Phil Say and Louise Domoney.

The business proposal will suggest using the theatre for ‘higher profile events’, such as touring West End shows and up-to-date comedians.

It could also be used as a host venue for BBC’s Question Time, theatre supporters say.

Mr Say, of sound equipment hire firm Atlantic Audio, said: “Although there has been much talk about local groups and the arts there will be much more emphasis on higher profile events.

“It is important to change the perspective of the venue; it does not have to be a black hole that sucks in money, neither is it somewhere for perhaps just the older generation and young children.

“Weymouth Pavilion would become a vibrant multi-space venue for music, drama, comedy, dance and all arts incorporated in an interesting programme which will include a range of workshops, activities and educational projects.”

There would be free and low cost events and more involvement with regular local events such as the Dorset Seafood Festival and the Weymouth Beach Motocross, the Save the Pavilion proposal says.

It is hoped that a theatre programme run by the Save the Pavilion group would attract visitors from outside of the area and bring in income to other business in the town.

“Hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, cafes, pubs and shops should all benefit from a successful venue,” Mr Say said.

Figures revealed in 2011 showed that the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council-owned Pavilion was costing £1.6million over two years.

Last month, councillors said the ageing theatre would be flattened in 2013 and turned into a car park unless there is a viable rescue plan.

Shortly after, Mr Say came forward with his rescue plan and claims he can save £260,000 on the council’s annual spend for keeping the theatre going.

Part of the plan would involve people volunteering to work as ushers and ticket sellers at the Pavilion. Training opportunities could also be provided by the rescue plan.

Mr Say said: “The Pavilion can also be a home to work experience and training, providing opportunities in catering, marketing as well as all technical aspects.

“It is not just performers who started out at the Pavilion that have gone on to successful careers but also many past technicians now hold responsible positions on many other shows.”

The business plan will be submitted to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council by January 16.

Groups Backing The Proposal

LOCAL groups backing the rescue plan include Let’s Dance, Friends of The Pavilion, June Hornby’s Weymouth Dance Studio, Weymouth Drama Club, The Curtain Raisers, Weymouth Camera Club, WOW Youth Musical Theatre, Hourglass Promotions, AsOne Professional Theatre Company, the Weymouth Operatic Society and the Weymouth Writers Group. For more information see or see the Facebook group Save Weymouth Pavilion.