Sheffield Theatres faces £100,000 council cut

A scene from My Fair Lady at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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Sheffield Theatres, The Stage’s regional theatre of the year, is facing a 20% cut to its funding from its local council, which the organisation says could damage its work with communities and young people.

Sheffield City Council has proposed that the organisation, which comprises the Lyceum, the Crucible and the Studio, loses £106,000 from its annual grant of £529,000 from April this year.

If the proposals were to go ahead, it would mark the third year that Sheffield Theatres has experienced a reduction in funding from its local authority.

The organisation, which recently won The Stage 100 Award for regional theatre of the year, said it would be “very actively involved” in the public consultation phase happening next month and would be “encouraging the many thousands of people” who support and visit its theatres to “add their voices”.

It added that the team had been “bracing” itself for several months prior to the announcement made last week because, it said, “like most publicly funded organisations, we knew that cuts were heading our way”.

Sheffield Theatres has restructured its team in recent years in a bid to make savings.

“This puts us in a strong position but does mean that we will need to put all our funded resources into producing amazing theatre in Sheffield,” said the venue.

“Other longer-term work, such as working with communities, young people and developing talent across the city, may suffer, particularly as this is the third year of a reduction in funding from Sheffield City Council,” it added.

A spokeswoman for Sheffield City Council said a decision would be made when the budget is finalised in early March.

Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said the council was “having to cut £50 million out of our budget as a result of the government’s unfair cuts to this northern city. This is on top of the £140 million we have cut over the last two years.

“So, faced with this situation, we have had to ask our partners to accept lower subsidies from us. We recognise that this is a challenge for all our arts organisations.”

She added: “We support Sheffield Theatres but are not its only source of financial support. We appreciate all the hard work that Dan Bates and the rest of the team at Sheffield Theatres Trust have undertaken to minimise the impact of reduced funding on their programmes. In Sheffield, we are lucky to have exceptionally professional arts organisations as partners – they are truly creative and will still give Sheffielders and visitors to the city quality, enjoyable programmes.”