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Bristol Council to make significant cuts to Bristol Old Vic's funding

The theatre, due to unveil its multi-million pound redevelopment next year, is facing a large reduction in its funding from the council

Bristol Old Vic (2015)

The Bristol Old Vic has today announced that it faces significant cuts to the funding it receives from Bristol City Council.

The theatre has revealed that the council plans to reduce the venue's funding from £288,000 to £100,000 - a reduction of 65 per cent.

In a statement for the theatre, chief executive Emma Stenning said that the constraints of austerity have put enormous pressure on Bristol City Council to make "widespread cuts".

The theatre will receive confirmation of the new funding level on December 4, following a cabinet meeting and will then have to reconsider the plan for its engagement work. Stenning said the news also threatens the theatre's existing funding partnerships with Arts Council England and other sources.

Stenning added: "We share the Mayor's vision to make opportunities available to all young people, regardless of background or economics. That's why our engagement programme reaches every ward of our city, and works in partnership with many of the communities that the Mayor seeks to highlight.

"Bristol's Cultural Strategy speaks boldly to the potential for 'innovative approaches to cultural investment', and we commit to joining this effort with energy and determination. As Cabinet Lead for Culture, the Mayor is uniquely positioned to play a leadership role in this new initiative, and we hope to hear more from him on this in the coming weeks.

"We also say to our brilliant creative colleagues in Bristol, let's collaborate even more. Let's find new ways to share resources and exchange ideas, and to work with the City Council to secure the funding that we need to protect our city's cultural future, and its global reputation as a creative powerhouse."

The council's statement read: " Following the cabinet decision in June 2017 to approve the Cultural Investment Programme, recommendations for two of Bristol City Council's main arts and culture grants have been published, proposing a 57 per cent increase in the number of organisations that could benefit from funding.

"Proposals recommend that 33 organisations share a total of £727,000 of funding a year as follows: funding awards from the 'Openness' fund are for four years and those awarded from the 'Imagination' fund are for two years."

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol said: "We face tough financial challenges that means budgets across the council are being reviewed. The reduction in the council's cultural funds is evidence of this and is part of making sure we can provide essential services whilst continuing to invest in our ambitions for the city."

The theatre announced its 2018 season earlier this month, and the theatre's multi-million pound redevelopment will be unveiled in spring next year.