RSC loses £250,000
The Royal Shakespeare Company's accounts for the year to March show a loss of £250,000, under 1% of turnover. The overall deficit, however, stands at £1.2m, £400,000 less than expected because of the reclassification of assets relating to the Swan Theatre.
In announcing the deficit at the annual governors meeting, chairman Sir Geoffrey Cass claimed that the RSC is the most efficient of the four major national companies in its use of public funds: "We do by far the most work on by far the lowest subsidy", he said.
Speaking of the "windfall" promised by the DCMS, he said, "I trust the funds will be accorded to national merit and not the power of one particularly well-organised and vociferous lobby." He contrasted the RSC's comparatve success with what he called the "inefficiently managed" Royal Opera House.
Audiences down: prices up, says TMA
Figures released by the TMA last week show that theatre audiences fell in the year to July by 3.6% to 8.9 million. This is part of a continued fall of 30% overall since 1991, when audiences reached 12.8m.
Although the average ticket price has risen from £7.79 to £11.25 in the last seven years, ticket sales have reained at around 58%, showing that the reduction in audience numbers is a reflection of the reduction in the number of productions and performances.
Wolsey to reduce productions?
Ipswich's Wolsey Theatre lost £107,000 in the last financial year, it was announced last week. As a result the theatre may be forced to change its producing policy unless additional funding can be found. Admin director Lorna Anderson claimed that six years of standstill funding lie at the root of the company's problems.
Options available to the theatre are a reduction in the number of productions, more co-productions, or becoming a part-production, part-receiving house.
It is understood that the present 1998/99 season is safe.
ACE and the regions
Peter Hewitt, ACE chief executive, and a group of ACE officials are to hold a series of five meetings in Brighton, Bristol, Leeds, London and Northampton in the next four weeks to explain the new devolved funding strategy. It is expected that the meetings will be stormy as regional theatres, whose accumulated deficit stands at more than £9m, demand action to solve their financial problems.
Welsh theatre a potential high growth sector
A new report commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales, the Welsh Development Agency and broadcaster S4C, says that Welsh theatre could be a "high growth sector" and points out that the "creative industries" in the principality are worth £1.1 billion and provide jobs for 36,000 people.