My Theatre Matters!
Weekly theatre newspaper The Stage has launched a nationwide campaign, in partnership with the Theatrical Management Association and Equity, aimed at galvanising support for theatres across the UK.
The campaign comes in response to a series of major cuts in local government funding for theatres, as councils find themselves under budgetary pressure. It will target audiences, calling on them to express why their theatre matters to them and to encourage politicians to do the same.
Brian Attwood, editor of The Stage, explained,
“Many theatres are facing reductions, and in some cases 100% cuts, in support from their local authorities. It is the single biggest threat currently facing our industry. One need only look to see what has happened in Taunton, Sheffield, Newcastle and even in Westminster to see that this is a national problem facing theatres up and down the country. While there are many enlightened councils out there who continue to support their theatres, we fear there will also be many who see them as an easy target at a time of cuts. We need to show that theatres aren’t an easy target – they are public services that are really valued by their audiences.”
Joanna Reid, Executive Director of the Belgrade added,
“Unlike some local councils who have significantly cut or entirely removed their funding for the arts, Coventry City Council has remained supportive of the Belgrade, because they recognise the economic benefit to the city of having an operational producing theatre at the heart of its evening economy. That said, it has had to find substantial savings across its service provision, which has resulted in a 25% funding cut for us, which equates to £272,000 a year. We’re keen to encourage the Belgrade’s audiences to let Coventry City Council know that they support their decision to continue to fund this theatre.”
To show your support for the Belgrade you can fill out a My Theatre Matters! postcard in support of the campaign. These postcards, which can be found at the theatre’s Box Office, enable you to let councillors know your theatre matters to you and to ask them to continue to support the arts in Coventry.
My Theatre Matters! also has a dedicated website where audiences can voice their support for their theatre, sign up to the campaign and download information about how to lobby politicians to convince them to continue funding theatres in their area. Alternatively, you can download postcards, posters and sample letters to send to councillors from the downloads section on the right of this page.