An investigation into the difficulties facing smaller theatres in London has been launched by the organisation that scrutinises the activities and decisions of the capital’s mayor.
The London Assembly has called for theatres to complete its survey to find out about their public funding problems, uncertainties over tenancies, securing affordable rehearsal space and marketing issues, among other things.
The inquiry is aimed at those theatres with 300 seats or less that have an annual turnover below £250,000.
Written evidence from theatre-goers and independent producers who work with small London venues is also being encouraged.
Labour London Assembly member Tom Copley, who is leading the investigation on behalf of the economy committee, said that although small theatres are thriving in the capital, it was important to conduct the research to avoid future problems.
Based on conversations with national advisory body the Theatres Trust, Copley said the investigation will focus on issues raised by stakeholders. He said the London Assembly would also like to hear from theatre companies that take over spaces for site specific work to find out how empty buildings can be better used for performances.
Copley said: “I don’t want to pre-empt the report results but within the areas we are looking at there are things that the mayor can do to help – for example he controls the Transport for London advertising boards. There are also issues surrounding public transport. For some small theatres, their relation to public transport is a big issue.”
“I’m particularly interested in taking action with things that don’t cost a lot of money because the reality is that budgets are very constrained at the moment. We want to look at practical solutions rather than just funding,” he added.
The survey can be found at www.london.gov.uk. Results from the investigation are expected in September of this year.