Falkirk’s favourite festive show is close to being allowed to use its traditional venue again next year.
The popular Bairns’ Christmas production presented by Falkirk Festival Chorus, Caledonian Choir and Tryst Orchestra faced being kicked out of Falkirk Town Hall in 2018 after Falkirk Community Trust announced a professional company has been hired to stage the Cinderella panto there thoughout December.
But a delegation representing the three groups involved was allowed to make its case to stay when Falkirk Council met and received cross-party support from councillors.
Douglas Peters, treasurer of the Caledonian Choir, told them: “Since its launch in 1983 in Falkirk Town Hall a Bairns’ Christmas has been a great success every year. Communities see it as getting the Christmas season underway. The show has been an important feature of the Falkirk calendar.
“The trust dropped a bombshell by saying there was no opportunity to book December 16 next year because the professional panto had been booked and the schedule could not be changed.”
Councillor Malcolm Nicol, leader of the Conservative Group, said he was disappointed a community trust could not accomodate a community group.
He claimed: “The people behind the Bairns’ Christmas have been treated shoddily. The trust can do itself a lot of good in the eyes of the communuity by giving them one day next December. This has tarnished the image of the trust. People have been very badly let down.”
Councillor Dennis Goldie of the Labour Group said: “It’s wonderful to have a professional panto, but I feel for the Bairns’ Christmas volunteers who have done a first class job all these years. With a wee bit of flexibility by the trust this can be solved.”
Trust chief executive Maureen Campbell was at the meeting ahead of presenting her latest business plan to the council.
After being told by Mr Peters that December 1 or 2 next year would be perfect for them she said: “If it’s possible, we will do that, but I don’t have the information today to say that can happen.”
Yesterday (Wednesday) council leader Cecil Meiklejohn hinted a deal is close.
She said: “I was hopeful that by bringing both groups together a compromise could be found. It appears there is now a real prospect of an agreement that will meet the needs of all.”