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Bristol’s Tom Morris welcomes regional arts funding report

Bristol-Old-Vic---auditorium-refurbished-1---photo-by-Philip-Vile Bristol Old Vic, one of the recipients of the ACE Exceptional awards grant Photo: Philip Vile
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Bristol Old Vic artistic director Tom Morris has welcomed a report highlighting a London bias when it comes to arts funding, warning that theatres outside London are facing a “tripple whammy” of cuts.

Morris was responding to the Rebalancing our Cultural Capital report, which claimed that Arts Council England allocated more than five times as much spending per resident to London organisations as those outside the capital in 2012/13.

Tom Morris on the Bristol Old Vic stage. Photo: Paul Blakemore
Tom Morris on the Bristol Old Vic stage. Photo: Paul Blakemore

Morris said: “This is a brilliantly argued report, and it’s essential to see it in context. Regional theatres have been in receipt of a triple whammy. First of all our core funding was cut in the austerity measure. Secondly, across the country, local authorities have reduced their investment in the arts, although thankfully in Bristol it’s been at least kept steady. And thirdly, as we all know, the philanthropic and sponsorship income that we’ve been encouraged to raise is far harder to attain in the regions than it is in London.

“What that means is that in any regional theatre, even here where over the last year we’ve smashed box office records with Peter Pan and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Neil Bartlett’s Great Expectations now playing, has had reviews to die for, we’re absolutely in the margins of viability. We’re looking day by day at whether or not we can afford to create next year’s programme, and that’s because of that triple whammy. The reality is precarious.”

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