The three main professional bodies representing the UK’s £2.6 million theatre industry – the Theatrical Management Association (TMA) the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and the Independent Theatre Council (ITC) - will come together this week for a two-day conference that aims to unite performing arts practitioners from every sector and region to map out a sustainable future for theatre in the UK.

Theatre 2005 – Raising the Bar takes place tomorrow (19 May 2005) and Friday at The Brewery in London. It follows the March publication of a theatre report from the House of Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport, which called for the government to put an end “stop-go-stop” arts funding and to recognise that the “overall case for substantial public investment in the theatre in this country is overwhelming” (See News, 23 Mar 2005).

This week’s conference programme will cover four key topics, namely how to: ensure the continued “Relevance” of the performing arts to 21st-century audiences; support creative “Renewal” so that existing audiences are retained and new ones attracted; develop “Leadership” that balances artistic and managerial priorities; and learn successful practices from “Other Business Models” that can be applied to the performing arts.

Amongst the theatre industry figures confirmed to speak at the Theatre 2005 are: playwright and actor Kwame Kwei-Armah, Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough, National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner (pictured), actor and director Josette Bushell-Mingo and West End producer Matthew Byam Shaw.

For further information, visit the conference website.

- by Terri Paddock