Stoll Moss bidders gather
The companies interested in bidding for the Stoll Moss chain of theatres, currently up for sale, have become clearer. According The Stage, current front runner is the American Shubert Organisation, but there are at least three other potential buyers, inclusing the Really Useful Group, a consortium led by Sir Michael Grade and Peter Holmes a Court, eldest son of Janet Holmes a Court who is the present owner. American entertainment giant SFX is said to be waiting in the wings and is now in a position to make a bid without the danger of it being referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission after its subsidiary PACE Theatrical sold its 25% share in the Ambassador group last week.
Arts a "tool of government policy" claim
Shadow Culture Secretary Peter Ainsworth has claimed that the arts are becoming a "tool of government policy". He said that companies have to follow the government's social policies if they are to get any funding and that the so-called "arms-length" policy is not working. He suggests that the Arts Council should be removed from government influence, perhaps by becoming a charity.
Seventy staff laid off at Birmingham
Seventy staff have been laid off at the Birmingham Hippodrome as the theatre goes dark for more than a year for a major revamp. Staff have been told they will be given a one-off tax-free payment of at least £1000 in compensation.
Profitable year for Norwich Theatre Royal
The Theatre Royal, Norwich, has had its most profitable year since reopening in 1992. Profits topped £180,000 and sales went up by 16,000. Average attendances were 66%, with one show, Grease playing to over 90% and grossing more than £530,000.
SAC demands SO board resignation
The Scottish Arts Council has demanded a clear-out of the board of Scottish Opera after it was revealed that the company is in debt to the tune of £1.5m, which is expected to rise to £2m.