Council axes funding for Hampstead Theatre

Natalie Woolman

Camden Council has axed its funding to Hampstead Theatre, while increasing the rates the venue must pay it.

The council has cut all of its financial support to the theatre, which amounted to £74,000 in 2010/11 and £54,000 for the nine months to December 31, 2011.

Last week, the London Evening Standard reported that the theatre would also have to pay business rates of up to £10,000, which had previously been waived. A spokesman for the council said that although the venue faced an increase in rates “the amount is significantly less than stated”.

He added: “Financial realities following government cuts have meant we have had to get the most out of a drastically reduced pot.”

The cut compounds the reduction to Hampstead’s Arts Council England funding. The theatre will have to deal with an 11% real-terms cut to its ACE funding over the next three years.

Edward Hall, artistic director of Hampstead, writes in the programme for the theatre’s current production of Farewell to the Theatre: “I am happy to say that Hampstead is enjoying renewed support from all those who are coming to see plays here, but unless we can make up lost ground, we will struggle hard in the coming months to sustain the output that has helped the theatre to thrive. This will confront us with some very hard choices.”

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