Private funding boosted theatre by £31m last year, report reveals

by -

Private investment in UK theatre has rocketed by 40% in the last year, according to a report by charity Arts & Business.

In 2003/04, private funding accounted for around £22 million of investment in the sector and in 2004/05, this figure has risen steeply to nearly £31 million, underlining the industry's dependence on support from businesses, individuals, trusts and foundations.

Chief executive of A&B Colin Tweedy commented: "These are very significant figures. There is more money going to the arts from the private sector than ever before. No one should ever dare write private sector income out of the arts funding script. The work of Arts & Business makes the UK the only country in the world to produce these figures on an annual basis. We will continue to prove the case that the arts are a good cause for additional private sector investment, creating a richer society for us all.

"Arts & Business has been making the arguments to increase private sector support of the arts very well for almost 30 years and will continue to make them. We must never put all our eggs in the private sector funding basket - this income is a supplement not a substitute. A growth in our marketplace is our determined goal, we will do all we can to unlock the full market potential."

The results were published as part of a wider survey, revealing that private investment in the arts in Britain had risen by 3% to £452 million. The increase in theatre investment was the largest out of all the art forms surveyed.

The annual A&B survey is produced with financial support from Arts Council England. ACE chair Christopher Frayling said: "Over the past five years, Arts Council England has been developing a close strategic relationship with Arts & Business. This latest report shows - through its dramatic statistics - that business understands the true value of the arts and that we are making great strides towards creating a mixed economy for arts organisations. This is likely to be crucial to their continuing health in the 21st Century."