Newcastle council plans 100% cuts to arts funding

The Theatre Royal Newcastle. Photo: Sally Ann Norman
The Theatre Royal Newcastle. Photo: Sally Ann Norman
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Newcastle City Council has published plans to completely remove funding to all arts organisations in the city, including Northern Stage, Newcastle Theatre Royal and Live Theatre, by 2016.

Due to reductions in its grant from central government, the local authority is faced with having to make cuts of £90 million, around a third of its budget. It has put forward proposals to completely remove funding from all external cultural services, warning that some organisations may not survive the cuts.

In its proposals, the council says: “The city benefits from vibrant and popular cultural institutions, but given the scale of government cuts it will not be possible for us to play as significant a role in their funding in the future. We therefore propose to work with cultural institutions to manage a substantial reduction in their funding from the council, with some institutions – including the Theatre Royal and Great North Museum – needing to secure their future without council resources by 2016. Newcastle and Gateshead councils will also scale back their joint investment delivered through the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, and each of the five Tyne and Wear councils will need to seek savings in their grants to the Archives and Museums service.

“We would be able to retain a programme of outreach services, delivered jointly with partners, supporting art development in communities with the greatest need.”

It warns that two visual arts organisations - Globe Gallery and Isis Arts - are likely to close as a result of the cuts, but says that the “fortunes of the larger organisations is more dependent on the ability of the arts council to continue to provide support (which is by no means certain) than on our funding, but the loss of resources will weaken all the organisations.”

It adds: “Some may close or merge. The Theatre Royal and Seven Stories will be particularly vulnerable.”

Newcastle Theatre Royal’s cut amounts to around £600,000 per year. This is the only public funding the venue receives.

The city council’s proposals have been put out to public consultation, which will run until February 2013. After this a draft budget will be presented to the local authority’s full council on March 6, 2013.


  1. About time too.
    How anyone in the “performing arts” industry has the temerity to suggest that they should receive a brass farthing is beyond me. They contribute zero to net wealth creation for the country but are drain on it.
    Before you all go “ape” talking about London theatre and tourist, just get on an do it. Let’s see how ‘lovely’ foreigners think you are with tax payers money.
    Grow up an pay you own way and stop spongin off the rest of us.

  2. Could not agree more…The country is in ruins, Money needs diverting to the public services, where it is needed most, And if the arts people want to pay stupid money for ‘unmade beds’ and ‘graffiti’, let them provide it from there own pockets.

  3. Think you should have a little review of your facts, Chris Hudson. The creative industries are the second largest contributor to GDP, actually. Absolutely terrible decision.

  4. Clearly written, Chris Hudson, by someone who has no understanding, knowledge or appreciation for culture. By killing creative industries, we are placing ourselves well behind other countries in our work place development as well as destroying the roots of our country’s rich history in the arts.
    You have approached this in a very one-sided, childish way without much comprehension of the bigger picture! Congratulations you are the kind of brain ruining this country…

  5. Couldn’t agree more with Chris Hudson, furthermore I think all the money saved on this should be diverted to the Jeremy Kyle show and X Factor to ensure the newly unemployed have something to watch. If they want to dance, let them dance in the job centers, it worked in The Full Monty. – Honestly this is such depressing news and I can’t believe any educated person would think otherwise, my only hope is that out of this grim austerity we get a new wave of profoundly angry artists.

  6. I think this is such sad news for the North East. Newcastle has long been a cultural hub, and produces some fantastic theatre and art.
    I understand the time of austerity that we find oursevelves in, however, surely cutting funding to an entire industry entirely can only do more hard than good. It will increase unemployment by thousands, stunt creativity in children, and reduce the cash injection into the local area.
    Theatre also fosters other industries such as Bars and Restaurants. If arts establishments are closing as a result of no funding this will have a profound effect on the area.
    Perhaps a cut to funding is necessary in the current economic time, but a 100% cut would be crippling in so many ways.
    @ChrisHudson ‘Grow up and stop spongin off the rest of us’ – if funding is cut, people will lose jobs and will subsequently need to sign on. Is that not a bigger squeeze on the economy?

  7. Could not agree more with Holly. The UK is home of some of the most fantastic arts in the world.
    I fully understand that cuts are required but 100% is crippling.
    The Newcastle and the North East is currently emerging culturally to remove 100% of funding will literally cull all the progress here are just a few things that Newcastle has achieved recently: Baltic hosting the Turner Prize, Northern Stage’s Artistic Leader gets appointed to the RSC, Live Theatre gets nominated as the best theatre for new writing outside London.

    This is not to mention all the underground and grass-roots projects that are happening.

  8. Yeah all those performing arts types. They just sit around, eat beans and Doritos like students (oh and there’s another collective we might as well tarnish with the same stereotypical brush whilst we’re at it, ey?) They contribute nothing to the economy. Most of them aren’t educated and don’t possess any more talent than is in Chris Hudson’s middle finger (of which he has so kindly flicked to many thousands in the industry.)

    I’m sure from where ever you are, Mr. Hudson it is easy for you to happily condone a decision that will result in job losses/cuts to thousands in the area. Cuts in this current climate need to be made but how you justify 100% cuts to one sector in such a culturally diverse area is not fair. I agree there are other places where the money is needed more but what will happen to our beloved Theatre Royal, Live Theatre, our museums and small business that depend on government funding?

    Have you ever been to theatre Mr. Hudson, or do you view it as trite and boring? The creative industries account for 5% of the domestic product, turning over billions and employing millions in UK. Please show some humility for the many in the area who have worked with passion, very hard both mentally and physically to achieve careers in such a competive field and will now face even further struggle to find employment.

  9. As a director in London but from the area I find this depressing. Culture isnt an odd on other wise Hitlers hitlist if he invaded would not have been topped by Noel Coward. I shall look forward to my next visit and singing aggadoo down the high street…

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