A nationwide campaign has been launched to support local theatres across the UK. Backed by Whatsonstage.com, My Theatre Matters! aims to galvanize public support for local theatres amid ongoing economic difficulties and funding cuts.
According to press material, "My Theatre Matters! will give local audiences a chance to voice their support for their local venue and encourage politicians to do the same."
It features a website where audiences can sign up and download information about how to lobby local politicians to convince them to continue funding theatres in their area. Audiences are also able to follow the campaign via twitter (@theatre_matters) and on Facebook.
The campaign has been created and launched by actors union Equity, theatre publication The Stage and theatre trade association the Theatrical Management Association (TMA), with support from Cog Design and John Good.
Brian Attwood, editor of The Stage, explained: "Many theatres are facing reductions, and in some cases complete cuts, in support from their local authorities. It is the single biggest threat currently facing our industry. One need only look to see what has happened in Taunton, Sheffield, Newcastle and even in Westminster to see that this is a national problem, facing theatres up and down the country.
"While there are many enlightened councils out there who continue to support their local theatres, we fear there will also be many who see them as an easy target at a time of cuts. We need to show that theatres aren’t an easy target, but are public services that are really valued by their audiences."
Equity president Malcolm Sinclair added: "The relationship between actor and audience is the essence of theatre so it seems to me to be entirely appropriate that the My Theatre Matters! campaign should be about mobilising audiences to defend their theatres from cuts. I hope every Equity member will get behind this campaign – but especially those currently working in theatre. This is about our right to work and if we won't campaign to save theatres who will?"
Other supporters of the campaign include Whatsonstage.com, the Independent Theatre Council, Creu Cymru, Writer's Guild of Great Britain, Theatres Trust, Dance UK and the Society of London Theatre.
Whatsonstage.com managing and editorial director Terri Paddock said: "Whatsonstage.com is proud to lend its support to this essential campaign helping local theatres facing crisis due to the devastating programme of cuts. We urge our readers to get involved and help support the future of theatre wherever they are in the UK."