Everyman Theatre boss to query funding cuts at Downing Street
EVERYMAN Theatre boss Geoffrey Rowe plans to lobby the government over cuts in arts funding during a Downing Street reception today.
Mr Rowe, chief executive at the town centre theatre, has been invited to the bash at 11 Downing Street this evening along with other members of the national Theatrical Management Association.
The reception is a celebration of British theatre and is organised by culture minister Ed Vaizey and Chancellor George Osborne's wife Frances.
However, Mr Rowe says he will use the opportunity to "lobby in a polite way" about cuts in grants which have hit theatres across the country.
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Mr Rowe said Gloucestershire County Council stopped a grant this year, which had been £52,000, for the theatre's education programmes.
Last year, Cheltenham Borough Council decided to reduce its funding for the theatre by £30,000 over six years.
Mr Rowe said: "The reception is about celebrating the strength and importance of British theatre and I'm excited to be part of it.
"But also it gives us an opportunity to lobby in a polite way because arts grants are being cut and this endangers the future of British theatre."
He added: "I'm not at the reception just for the Everyman, I'm there for theatre in general.
"We are in a pretty strong position at the Everyman because we get an arts council grant, but the theatres which rely solely on local authority grants are going to struggle.
"I'm worried about the national picture for theatres."
Mr Rowe praised Mr Vaizey and Mrs Osborne for organising the reception.
He said: "It's great that they are honouring the theatre and recognising the importance of it in the UK and Cheltenham."
The Everyman received a total grant of £200,050 from the borough council this year.
The Arts Council gave the theatre a grant of £375,000.
From April 1 this year, the annual single membership at the theatre rose from £18 to £22, and £35 to £40 for a double membership.The increase was a result of a drop in members from around 2,000 to 1,800.