How to write a letter to your MP asking them to support the arts with further funding
The arts are in a dire situation right now, and empty words just lead to empty auditoriums
The more than legitimate fury surrounding the lack of support for the theatre sector during the pandemic has manifested itself in many different ways – with proposals for protests, critiques of Cabinet members and petitions or testimonials from loyal punters.
One way that could help facilitate change is by sending letters to MPs. Already it can be seen that through sustained messaging questions can be brought up in Prime Minister's Questions, and it is vital for the campaigning power of the industry is sustained over the likely difficult months to come.
Here we answer some questions on how to write to your local MP.
What if I don't know who my MP is?
You can find out very quickly online – search here with your postcode and then click on your MP's face. Their contact details will also be available here.
What should I write?
Write from the heart. Tell them how much theatre means to you, and how vital it is for your community. MPs might be less inclined to read a copy-and-paste letter but a personal story could resonate more. It doesn't need to be long – and you can highlight any key points in bold. Also be sure to add your address – so your MP can confirm you're a constituent.
Are there any statistics I can use to back up arguments?
While a vital element of any society simply because they provide joy, education, insight and creative wonder, the arts are also a big big moneymaker. And a big employer. Find out how many people are employed at your local theatre. You can get more data here.
What should I ask them to do?
As mentioned by the wonderful Michelle Barnette, one thing is to ask them to table an Urqent Question in Parliament – the deadlines for urgent questions are Monday at 11.30am, Tuesday and Wednesday at 10am, Thursday at 8.15am and Friday at 8.30am. Other than that, ask them to push for a financial package to save the arts industry, or to provide a proper timeline for reopenings.
I'm not able to type comfortably or write well, is there a draft I can use?
Yes – the Public Campaign for the Arts has created some draft letters that you can use to shape your own response.
The MP hasn't replied, what do I do?
A number of things. Send a follow-up letter. Tweet at them with a picture of your letter and ask why they haven't responded. Ask other constituency members to raise it with the MP in question. Get in touch with your local theatre and see if they have any way to help.