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Theatres issue election manifesto demands

Cassie Chadderton, head of UK Theatre
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UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre have called on the main political parties to make manifesto commitments to investigate the damage caused to theatre by local funding cuts.

The letter, jointly signed by both industry membership organisations, will be sent to political party policy teams and warns that the removal of local authority funding is “by far the greatest threat to prosperity and growth” in the sector.

It comes after Bath was hit by 100% cuts to arts grants, major cuts to the arts in Birmingham and a £380,000 reduction in arts funding in Bristol.

Head of UK Theatre Cassie Chadderton called on the government to assess the full impact of the reduction in local authority funding.

She said: “If local authority funding cuts continue, we risk the provision of theatre being lost to local communities and we risk losing the development of skills and artists through those performing arts venues.

“We stand to risk the success of the UK theatre and performing arts industry on a national and global scale.”

Chadderton added: “Some organisations have already seen stringent cuts. However we have also seen many local authorities, venues and organisations looking at new ways of working together to generate income.”

Other demands from the industry bodies in their letter, to the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Green, Women’s Equality, Ukip, SNP and Plaid Cymru parties, include a commitment to a “strong cultural education” to “encourage young people to innovate and create in any field of expertise”, and a commitment to the continued public funding of the sector from central government.

Chadderton added: “These are all interconnected points about a sector that needs support in various places.

“We believe theatre and the performing arts contribute to British prosperity and will continue to contribute to British prosperity in the future.”

The letter from UK Theatre and SOLT comes after UK Theatre released a toolkit to help arts organisations tackle the local funding crisis.


Key manifesto demands from SOLT/UK Theatre include calling on the parties to:

  • Review the full impact of local authority funding cuts on the theatre sector
  • Maintain central government arts funding
  • Commit to a strong cultural education that encourages creativity in young people
  • Commit to providing better performing arts careers advice
  • Improve apprenticeships, particularly in technical theatre training
  • Protect theatre production tax relief
  • Provide clear advice and support for theatres on new ways in which they can fund themselves
  • Work towards a deal for the free movement of talent and skills, enabling international and European artists to work in the UK following Brexit
  • Protect access to international funding and markets for theatre organisations following Brexit

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