Cuts: Sheffield Theatres' Daniel Evans RespondsDate: 26 October 2010
Sheffield Theatres' artistic director Daniel Evans today responded to Arts Council England's (ACE) 6.9% funding cuts for all Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs). The announcement will see his organisation, which comprises of the Crucible, the Lyceum and the Crucible Studio lose funding of over £94,000.
Sheffield Theatres is also funded by Sheffield City Council, which is currently considering its funding following last week's Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).
"Any cut in arts funding is, of course, hugely worrying and disappointing. For a sector that recently experienced what has been called ‘a golden era’ (both economically and artistically), it is undoubtedly a retrograde step. However, given the issues surrounding the wider economy, arts organisations have learned to accept that, like other sectors, we too will suffer. The questions was: to what degree? Now, we know.
"On the whole, the arts world’s reaction to the CSR announcement was, dare I say, characteristically optimistic. Having been led to expect a horrific ‘blitzkrieg’, many colleagues expressed a sense of relief at the news, which seemed slightly more palatable. There were even some positive outcomes: museum and gallery entry to remain free and an indication of a capping of cuts to ACE’s RFOs at 14.9% (over four years). The real suffering will, of course, be felt by the hundreds of smaller organisations all over the country that are not regularly funded but nevertheless form an essential part of a healthy and vibrant arts ecology.
"For us at Sheffield Theatres, we are certainly grateful for the speed and clarity at which the Arts Council have interpreted and disseminated information. While the next year will certainly be challenging, we hope that we will be able to sustain the quality and diversity of the work on stage and within our communities. However, ACE is not the whole story. We are also funded by our City Council and we await the interpretation of their 7.5% overall cut in the coming month. So, while the overall picture is still uncertain, we are hopeful that the local authority will recognise the immense benefits that Sheffield Theatres bring to the city and region – not merely economically, but also artistically, socially and spiritually.
"Of course, there are challenges ahead, however we must be optimistic. The Crucible Theatre reopened last February following a two-year, £15m redevelopment. We are extremely proud of our new building and grateful that the regeneration was completed (on time and on budget) six months before the spending review. We are determined that we continue to produce bold and passionate theatre for the city and the region in all three of our venues, alongside a far-reaching, forward-thinking participation programme. Our recent production of Hamlet was seen by approximately 30,000 people and our Christmas musical, Me and My Girl, promises to be an exhilarating antidote to any feelings of dismay.
"Within the regional theatre sector, there is a genuine spirit of collaboration and openness that feels exciting and innovative and new. We are delighted to have become the home of Eclipse Theatre and we will continue to seek out ways of working with partners to enable them and us to deliver truly enriching arts experiences. We are hopeful that, during the challenging times ahead, new relationships will be forged, vibrant theatre will be created and audiences across the region will continue to be challenged, entertained and moved.”
We will continue to update the Cuts Watch page as we gather more responses from theatres, industry leaders and arts organisations. Publicists can email contributions for publication to email@example.com. Please also add your views to User Comments at the bottom of stories.