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Much ado about nothing at Regent's Park

PUBLISHED: 14:05 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:47 07 September 2010

A NOTICE put up at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre sparked fears of boozy nights among residents already kept awake by noisy revellers. The New Shakespeare Company Ltd, which runs the theatre, posted its proposals to extend opening hours from 11pm to 1am w

A NOTICE put up at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre sparked fears of boozy nights among residents already kept awake by noisy revellers.

The New Shakespeare Company Ltd, which runs the theatre, posted its proposals to extend opening hours from 11pm to 1am with alcohol sales until 12.30am.

The notice sparked outrage from locals, who say they are already disturbed by the noise of theatre-goers leaving after performances. Objectors were also concerned the application was being rushed through the council's licensing committee as they have been given only five days to register comments.

But the fears appear to be unfounded. The New Shakes-peare Company has reassured residents that the late licence is only for three nights a year - a detail not stated in its notice.

A spokeswoman said: "We have made an application to extend the licence for three nights only during the forthcoming summer season - June 20, July 24 and August 29. On each occasion a late night comedy event will take place featuring a well-known stand up comedian.

"The events are ticketed and the bar will not be open during or after the performance, which will run between 12 midnight and 1am. The company has no plans to run any other events after midnight this summer."

But Malcolm Kafetz, chairman of The Friends of Regent's Park and Primrose Hill, said there was no excuse for residents not being given this vital information. He said: "If it's only going to be for three nights a year nobody minds that, but why didn't they say that in the beginning?"

"When any application is made over the Christmas period, and in such a hurry, it automatically makes you think about a hidden agenda. We're not trying to make a fuss - we just want more definite details on what they are planning to do.

A council spokeswoman said: "The theatre has applied to extend the hours it can serve alcohol and have entertainment on three specified dates in the year to accommodate performances by a stand-up comedian.

"We will be writing to anyone who has objected to the application to make sure they understand the details.


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