Nervous times for the RSC, BRB and MAC after arts funding cuts announced
The Royal Shakespeare Company is nervous about the 29.6 per cent funding cut for the Arts Council announced in the Government's Spending Review.
Michael Boyd, RSC artistic director, said: “Any cut is hard to take and 29.6 per cent will hit the arts and audiences hard. We understand that cuts in Arts Council England funding to regularly funded organisations may be 15 per cent over four years.
“This will be a big blow to theatres – especially those who will lose local authority funding – and audiences will be the poorer. Spreading the cuts over four years does allow people to plan as long as the cuts are not heavily front loaded. However, we are concerned that the settlement for the Arts Council doesn’t allow them sufficient room to manoeuvre.
“We are pursuing ways to cut our costs and maximise our income, and will do what we can to support smaller organisations by continuing our collaborations with other artists, professional and amateur companies and drama schools.
“We will wait to hear more detail following the Arts Council’s national meeting on October 25 before determining how we might apply these cuts and what impact they will have on our programme.
“As a supporter of the principle of arm’s length funding, I find it disappointing that the Arts Council has taken a bigger hit than the DCMS overall as they’ve already made significant savings in the recent past.”
Christopher Barron, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s chief executive, said that a loss of public funding could make it more problematic for the company to execute its remit properly.
“We do big ballets with a large number of people,” he said. “Those are the ones that our audience are most enthusiastic about. It’s also part of our remit that we should tour England, but that is going to be increasingly difficult, as moving a company of this size is an expensive business.
“There are certainly going to be some challenging times ahead.”
This opinion was echoed by Dorothy Wilson, artistic director and chief executive of the Midlands Arts Centre.
“Of course this is a worrying time for the Mac,” she said. “A worrying time for all arts organisations, but not just arts organisations.
“The arts are important for maintaining a healthy economic ecology. Nobody invest in a cultural vacuum. So this could be a worrying time for overall industry.
“But most of all, the arts make us feel human, the opportunity to express ourselves creatively keeps us healthy. The cuts put so much at risk. Of course we are all trying to find smarter and smarter ways of working.
“However, there are many challenges and threats in front of us.”