Equity Actors Call for Post-Austerity Arts SummitDate: 7 April 2011
As the implications of the four-year funding cuts doled out last week by Arts Council England continue to sink in, actors’ union Equity is calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to convene an arts summit in order to plan for post-“austerity” investment and growth.
Actors and Equity member Patrick Stewart will lead a delegation to Downing Street tomorrow to present the letter at 10.00am. He’ll be joined by fellow actors Samuel West and Maxine Peake, Equity president Malcolm Sinclair and general secretary Christine Payne.
Rather than attempting to overturn decisions about current cuts, which cover the four-year spending round through to 2014/15, Equity is now turning its attention to putting pressure on government to plan for the long term sustainability of the arts sector.
The full text of the letter reads:
“After the initial round of cuts to Arts Council England, announced as part of last October's Comprehensive Spending Review, many arts organisations witnessed the withdrawal of large amounts of local authority support, followed by a further round of Arts Council cuts just last week.
“Many of our most successful artists, our Oscar, Olivier, Golden Globe and Emmy winners, learned their craft in repertory and small scale theatre. These organisations not only provide for local communities, they are also where the research and development for our multi-million pound entertainment industry takes place.
“However, those working in the sector recognise that decisions about funding have been taken and that our task now is to do the best that we can to preserve the UK's status as a world leader in culture and the arts during this period of budgetary restraint. We know that you and your Ministers are aware of the economic strengths of the arts and creative industries and their potential to promote growth, regeneration and social cohesion in our communities.
“We hope that you share our view that we need to continue the success story of the UK's entertainment industry. Today we appeal to you to convene a summit of leaders in our sector to discuss with political leaders the way forward for public investment in the arts and to consider policies to increase this investment once this present period of austerity has passed.”
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