What challenges are small theatres facing and is there more the Mayor could do to help them? The London Assembly is today launching a new investigation into how small theatres can remain viable across the capital.
Every year there are 17,000 theatrical productions in the capital, many in small theatres which help develop talent and shows and also boost the economy by drawing visitors to areas outside central London.
However smaller venues are reporting a range of difficulties including funding cuts, uncertainties over their tenancies, structural issues with their premises and difficulties promoting their work.
The new investigation, led by Tom Copley AM, on behalf of the Assembly’s Economy Committee, wants to hear from small theatres across the capital to learn more about these and other challenges. It will also look at what the Mayor and the Greater London Authority could do to assist small theatres.
Theatres are urged to contribute to the investigation by completing a survey at www.london.gov.uk/smalltheatres. Theatre-goers, producers, funders and other cultural organisations can also find details here of how they can contribute.
Tom Copley AM, said: “London has a world-renowned theatre scene, ranging from large West End stages to small venues above pubs, all of which contribute enormously to the capital’s economy and culture.
“Small venues – which are essential for fostering new talent and productions - are a major economic driver and growth sector for London. However, they face particular difficulties at the moment around funding, the future of their premises and promoting their work.
“To assess the scale of these challenges and to see if the Mayor could do more to help these venues thrive, we want to see hear from as many theatres across London as we can, as well as cultural organisations and audience members.”
In his 2010 cultural strategy, the Mayor said he was working with and encouraging institutions, local authorities and funding bodies to ensure high-quality cultural services are expanded and enhanced across the London region.
Notes to editors:
- The investigation will mainly focus on theatres with 300 or fewer seats and with annual turnover below £250,000. London is home to 170 theatres, which includes including many small venues. The majority of theatres outside the West End have fewer than 300 seats.
- See figures from the Cultural Audit 2009, cited on P34 of the Mayor’s Cultural Strategy: Cultural Metropolis.
- Based on informal meetings with the Theatres Trust, the Society of Independent Theatres and Off West End and several small theatre directors.
- Read more about the investigation
- See Policy Action 2.1 on P77 of the Mayor’s Cultural Strategy: Cultural Metropolis.
- Tom Copley AM, Member of the Economy Committee, is available for interview. See contact details below.
- As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.
For more details, please contact Lisa Moore/Julie Wheldon in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 4228/4283. For out of hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.