Birmingham Repertory Theatre hit by 20% cut in council funding

Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Photo: Craig Holmes.
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Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Repertory Theatre are among 10 arts organisations in the city set to have their council funding cut by around 20% from next year.

Birmingham City Council’s cabinet approved the changes this month, which will see the annual grants for the ballet company and theatre both reduced from £908,500 to £730,000 in 2014/15.

Other organisations, including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Opera Company and Dancexchange, will have similar reductions.

Overall, the local authority will decrease its grant funding for arts groups from around £6.7 million to £5.4 million.

Christopher Barron, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s chief executive, said the company had been prepared for the funding cut and had adapted its business model to accommodate the change.

He said: “We were well warned there would be another substantial funding cut for the coming year and this was taken into account when BRB’s current business plan was developed.  In addition, a busy and dynamic fundraising department, and our core funding from Arts Council England, have enabled us to keep moving forward with a full workforce of 60 dancers.”

Barron added: “Needless to say, these are extremely difficult times and we have little choice but to pursue our new business model energetically for the future of the company.”

A spokesman for the local council said a planned reduction to arts funding was postponed in 2012/13 and 2013/14 to allow organisations to develop business models ahead of the cuts going ahead in the coming year.

Ian Ward, deputy leader for Birmingham City Council, said: “Faced with unprecedented cuts to our funding, we have to make difficult decisions about the council and the services it provides.

“Arts have to share the burden but we want to ensure that we continue to have a vibrant cultural scene, attracting investment and visitors whilst engaging with local residents. That is why we are still offering significant levels of support to the sector.”