Every penny spent on the Kings is going to be worth it

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CLIVE SMITH: What on earth does gay pride have to do with the National Trust?

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It’s a blight on the theatre-going experience that is not often commented on in polite society.

But thanks to the period when many of the country’s most beautiful theatres were built, their toilet facilities are often found wanting when judged by modern standards.

And it is a problem that is far from exclusively ours in Portsmouth – from the many theatres in the West End to our own Kings here in Southsea, come the interval at any packed show and there will often be lengthy queues to use the toilets.

One often wonders what any tourists in town to enjoy a show must make of such out-of-date facilities.

The problem is generally worse for women’s facilities, and any poor souls with bladder problems, well, good luck to them.

We don’t seek to make light of people with a medical issue – it can be embarrassing and humiliating for sufferers.

As staff at the Kings acknowledge, given the subject matter, this one is a tough sell to the public. But as they also point out, it’s the subject that crops up more frequently than any other in feedback from their audiences.

The Big Project will seek to improve many aspects of the grade II-listed building in coming years, but few will have such an immediate impact on audiences.

The Kings is one of the jewels in the city’s crown, but there are elements of it that need improving, and the trust that runs the theatre knows this.

Its Big Project, the £13m scheme to make it fit for the 21st century, is going to be a massive undertaking. It is a reality of running a 110-year-old theatre that upkeep is going to be expensive.

However, we believe every penny spent to keep the old beauty running – and keeping up with modern times – is worth it.