Equity has called an emergency meeting to discuss the arts funding
crisis. At 11.00am on 9 January at the Young Vic in London Equity
members and others will have the opportunity to question Arts Council
England chief Peter Hewitt about why within weeks of the announcement
of an additional £50 milliion Government investment in the arts
we are facing a crisis with nearly 200 revenue funded organizations,
many of them theatres, losing their financial support.
The full picture of which organisations have been cut and which are
losing all their funding is not yet clear as the Arts Council has
chosen not to make a comprehensive announcement but to let bits of
news leak out from individual theatres. The following theatre organisations
have been reported in the press as either being cut or axed: Quicksilver,
Pop-Up, London Bubble, Union Dance, Bush, LIFT, Queer Up North, Drill
Hall, Watermans, Arts and Business, Total Theatre, Compass, ETT, Lip
Service, Kaos, Orange Tree, Cambridge Arts, Derby Playhouse, Bristol
Old Vic, Exeter Northcott, Eastern Angles, Pride of Place Festival,
Komedia, Norwich Puppet Theatre, Creative Arts East, Tara Arts, People
Show, Stationhouse Opera, National Student Drama Festival, ITC, Yvonne
Arnaud, Dukes Lancaster, Circus Arts Forum, Red Shift, Chisenhale,
Mimika, Freehand, Komedia, Rejects Revenge, Yorkshire Women Theatre,
Asian Women's Drama Project, Birmingham Opera Company,International
Workshop Festival. If anyone has heard of a cut theatre organisation
not on this list, please let Equity know.
Equity is offering its support to campaigns to overturn the Arts
Council's proposal run by any of these organisations.
In the press the union has expressed astonishment that a major increase
of funding for the arts has been turned by Arts Council England into
a crisis. The union has criticised Arts Council England for not making
a detailed announcement about their proposals, leaving the information
to drip out piecemeal, and for giving funded organisations too little
time to formulate appeals. Revenue funded organisations got information
about proposals for their funding on 12 December and have until the
middle of January to appeal. Arts Council England will announce its
final decisions either late in January or early in February.
Equity General Secretary Christine Payne has said, Weve
called this meeting with Peter Hewitt because information has not
been made available about the underlying rationale for what is a surprising
round of cuts. Its surprising because the Arts Council got an
unexpectedly high funding round from government. So we need to know
why these cuts.
We welcome the fact that Peter Hewitt is coming. We feel that
him coming part way through the appeals process is a recognition of
the importance of our members to the organisations ACE funds. We think
that it will be a testing meeting for him - inevitably, he will face
a certain amount of anger.
We hope to influence arts council thinking, but we have no
prior knowledge of whether that is even possible. We dont know
how open to change these proposals are. But, I am expecting a very
significant turn-out at the Young Vic, including some of the best
known names in the British theatre industry.
Peter Hewitt has agreed to come to the meeting to talk about the
arts councils overall funding strategy but has said he will
not be able to discuss individual cases because the appeals process
is currently underway. Organisations have until January 15 to challenge
any proposed cuts and ACE will make its final decisions at the end
The meeting will take place on Wednesday 9 January at the Young Vic
in London. Any member or other theatre professional wishing to attend
should e-mail Equity as soon as possible on email@example.com.
Please also use this e-mail address to let Equity know of any theatre
organisation not listed above which has also been cut.