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Plan calls on councils to do more to support their local theatres

The Victoria Theatre in Salford is at the top of the Theatres at Risk Register for a second consecutive year The Victoria Theatre, Salford is on the Theatres Trust Theatre Buildings at Risk Register
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An eight-point plan outlining ways in which local authorities can support their theatres has been released by the Theatres Trust.

It urges local councils to support community groups who want to take on the running of a theatre by backing their funding bids and assisting with the cost of viability studies.

Other points on the list include ensuring that culture is included at the centre of local development plans, to promote and encourage new venues as well as protecting existing building.

Jon Morgan, director of the Theatres Trust, has also called on councils to regularly inspect vacant theatre buildings, especially those belonging to a private owner, to prevent deterioration.

Speaking at the London launch of the Theatres Trust Theatre Buildings at Risk Register, Morgan said: “We all know what problems local authorities are going through at the moment, many of them have had 70-75% cuts in their funding during the past seven or eight years, and are really under pressure with social care costs and housing, both of which are obviously really important.”

He added: “But there are things that local authorities can do, even in these difficult times. We’ve come up with eight of the things that we have learned through our work over the years, which are things the authorities could do differently to help support their theatres.”

Morgan also called on central government to provide a larger cultural fund than the £2 million offered in the Autumn Budget.

He added: “The UK government announced a cultural development fund in the Autumn Budget last year, however it’s only £2 million – we would like this to be a couple of hundred times larger, and we would also like it to be specifically ring-fenced for cultural buildings because they are at the heart of place-making.”

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