Headlong artistic director Jeremy Herrin has warned that a lack of funding for regional theatre will “homogenise the work” and result in producers taking fewer risks.
Herrin, who recently announced his final season with Headlong, also called on Arts Council England to set up a forum for theatre companies to discuss issues around touring work.
“The Arts Council has really got to acknowledge that it just doesn’t give us enough money for us to simply tour theatre,” Herrin said.
“We have to work in co-production, which limits the amount of work we can get out there, limits the amount of money we can spend on audience development, and eventually it’s going to homogenise the work and it’s going to mean that people take fewer risks.”
Herrin said that unless there is significant investment into regional theatre from local and national government, he is “not optimistic about the state of regional theatre”.
“It would be great [for the Arts Council] to set up some kind of conversation, whereby the people on the front line trying to get regional tours together are able to share some of their gripes and try and work out a new strategy, because frankly it’s not working at the moment, it’s not working for anyone,” he added.
His comments follow concerns raised by Bristol Old Vic artistic director Tom Morris that theatres are at risk of losing their individual identities as co-productions become more necessary.