A 15 per cent increase in hire charges at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall is likely to lead some small groups such as glass and porcelain painters to look for a different meeting place - and theatre groups who use it as the venue for their productions are not happy, either.
Colin Lapworth, this week directing Erdington Operatic Society for his 39th annual production, said: "Everybody who uses the town hall received a letter in April to say that all the hire charges had gone up 15 per cent to about £3,000 from just over £2,600.
"We expect them to go up about five per cent every year, but the reason they give for 15 per cent is a large increase in fuel and energy costs. They've also made a crush hall - a separate unit where the orchestra leaves all its stuff and they will charge £130 per night for that from next April, which means it will cost us that times five in addition to the hire charge.
"It came as a bolt from the blue. The town hall is pricing itself out of the market."
Erdington OS is one of five musical theatre groups using the town hall. The others are Tudor Musical Comedy Society, Trinity Players, Sutton Coldfield Musical Theatre Company - which used it recently for the first time for many years - and Manor Operatic Society.
Erdington's The Sorcerer opened last night and continues for the rest of the week. Next year, for its 50th anniversary, the group has chosen The Yeomen of the Guard - and it will be at the town hall.
Colin Lapworth explained: "We don't want to abandon it if we can avoid it. We wouldn't get a big audience following us if we moved to Birmingham, and the Lichfield Garrick is pricing itself out of the market with a tremendous hire charge of probably about £6,000 for a week."
Chris Turner, chairman of Lichfield Operatic Society, which was at the Garrick last week with Hot Mikado, said: "We paid the theatre in the region of £6,500 to do it - but it's a fully equipped professional theatre. You have a fantastic fly tower and all the facilities and I suppose twice the price compared with Sutton Town Hall is not out of order.
"On the other hand, you could argue that the town hall should be £1,500 and the Garrick £3,000-£4,000. We charge £14 for Saturday night tickets, £10 for Tuesday, £12 for Wednesday and £13.50 for Thursday and Friday - but some companies are charging more."
So it's difficult - but loyalty comes into the equation, too.
"We've been losing £2,000-£3,000 on every show and we made a loss of £2,000 on Hot Mikado last week, but we wouldn't leave the Garrick - purely because we're the local society. I don't think we would ever go to the town hall, because the facilities are not good enough for what we need. We've been spoiled by having a nice new fly tower!"
Carmen, Tinkers Farm Opera, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (to Saturday).
When the Reaper Calls, Highbury Little Theatre, Sutton Coldfield (to Saturday).
Disney's High School Musical, Coventry Youth Operetta Group, Coventry College (to Saturday).
The Sorcerer, Erdington Operatic Society, Sutton Coldfield Town Hall (to Saturday).
Accrington Pals, The Nonentities, Rose Theatre, Kidderminster (to Saturday).
A Murder is Announced, Wythall Theatre Company, Palace Theatre, Redditch (to Saturday).
Disney's High School Musical, BMOS Youtheatre, Old Rep (to Saturday).
The Three Sisters, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (to Nov 17). 3-4-1, Stage 27, Mac (Nov 8-12).
Blithe Spirit, Billesley Players, Dovehouse Theatre, Solihull (Nov 8-10).
Wait Until Dark, Grange Players, Grange Playhouse, Walsall (Nov 8-17).
Murdered to Death, Oldbury Repertory Players, Barlow Theatre, Langley (Nov 10-17).
Secondary Cause of Death, All Saints' Players, All Saints' Church, West Bromwich (Nov 13-16).
Billy Liar, Newcastle Players, Mitchell Memorial Theatre, Hanley (Nov 13-17).
Jekyll and Hyde, Redditch Operatic Society, Palace Theatre, Redditch (Nov 13-17).
One o'Clock from the House, Company of the Curtain, Parish Hall, Water Orton (Nov 13-17).
Broadway Blockbusters, Argosy Musical Theatre Company, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (Nov 15-17).