Equity has said it is down to audiences and the industry to defend theatres from “short-term and short-sighted austerity politics”.
Speaking at the Bath Theatre Matters Conference this week, which was organised to tie in with the national My Theatre Matters! campaign being run by Equity, The Stage and the Theatrical Management Association, the union said the arts are at “real risk” as local council budgets are cut.
Equity assistant general secretary Martin Brown said: “It is our job to defend our theatres from short-term and short-sighted austerity politics.”
Describing the “perfect storm” that local theatres are currently facing, Brown said that while Arts Council England funding cuts continue, business sponsorship is declining rapidly in the regions and local authorities are viewing non-statutory cultural funding as an “easy target”.
He said: “The campaign’s objective is to persuade councils that arts funding is not an easy target for cuts. It is doing that by engaging with audiences in defending their theatres.”
“A theatre in your town makes it a better place to live. Council members believe that. Audience members believe that. Owners of businesses know that theatres are part of what makes town centres vibrant. The My Theatre Matters! campaign is trying to tap into local pride of theatres,” added Brown.
The My Theatre Matters! campaign was launched earlier this year to celebrate theatre across the UK.