London’s Royal Court Theatre has reduced its core in-house programming by around a quarter, as its latest trustees report highlights “challenging” cash flow issues.
The trustees report, for the year ending March 2018, reveals it is cutting its in-house shows to 12 a year, six in each of its two spaces.
It says this equates to a “25 to 30% reduction in production going forwards”.
However, a spokeswoman for the theatre explained, while the theatre’s core in-house shows may reduce from current levels, audiences will not see a drop in output generally.
“In addition to producing six core productions in each of the two spaces, the theatre will continue to co-produce and present additional plays so that the yearly output will look very similar. It is more about working in collaboration and presenting work, rather than producing everything in the programme solely in-house,” she said.
She said the Royal Court’s core funding agreement from Arts Council England states it is expected to deliver 12 core Royal Court produced plays per year, across both of its spaces.
She added the theatre has been producing “significantly more than this” in recent years, with around seven shows in the downstairs space and nine upstairs, as well as work in temporary space the Site and on tour. She described the reduction as a return to the core level of programming in previous years.
The move to reduce core productions has been driven largely by a cut in talent development funding, which was previously supported by £300,000 from Arts Council England and has impacted on the theatre’s cash flow. The report also highlights the standstill funding the theatre receives, and claims the deferred nature of payments from the theatre tax relief scheme is also “challenging for the cash flow of the organisation”.
“The picture for everyone in the sector is one of an increasingly challenging economic model, and the standstill funding is really starting to bite. In recent years the Royal Court has had healthy reserves and a nimble commercial model, so has been able to expand output and weather this uncertain economy. But now there is a need to programme more prudently, and return to the baseline model that ACE expects of the theatre,” the spokeswoman said.