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UK Theatre launches bid to improve working relationship between producers and venues, warning industry at risk without change

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UK Theatre has warned the industry’s future is at risk if it does not adapt to a changing producing and touring landscape.

In response, it has announced a series of forums addressing the relationship between producers and venues and the deal-making process.

Five forums will be held at locations across the UK at which producers, venues and touring companies will come together to discuss the issues facing the sector, and in particular, ways to improve and clarify the way deals are made over productions.

Attendees at UK Theatre’s 2018 Touring Symposium, held earlier this year, reported that relationships between producers and venues had become difficult in some scenarios.

Some reported that trust issues had sprung up because of a lack of transparency, while others claimed the process is too complex or requested more clarity over exact costs and terms.

UK Theatre said it recognised that touring ecology had changed in recent years and that the “theatre industry is at risk if it doesn’t adapt”, however it added that it required members’ input to identify the best way forward.

A Producing, Presenting and Touring Handbook will be published next year as a result of the discussions to be held at the forums, which are being delivered by UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre – with a number of partners including Arts Council England, the Independent Theatre Council and the League of Independent Producers.

There will also be an online submission process for UK Theatre members unable to attend the forums.

UK Theatre head Cassie Chadderton said the events would be an opportunity for producers and venues to share their views on potential resources or ideas that would be beneficial.

She said these could include a ‘no hidden costs’ principle, where everything is seen up front, a glossary of terms “so that new producers understand the landscape without any jargon”, or a directory of venues and their specifications to make it clear what shows can be produced where.

“[The handbook] could be made up of new guidance, or it could be a refresh of existing guidance, but crucially it won’t exist in little pockets, it will be in one place, in one handbook,” she said.

More information on the forums can be found here.

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