Theatre funding under discussion

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A CRUCIAL meeting about future funding for Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre will be held at the end of this month.

The theatre, along with Scarborough Castle, has become one of the latest victims of severe cuts in public funding.

A letter was issued to staff explaining that the theatre had lost £132,000, which is 13 per cent of its grant funding.

The theatre receives funding from Arts Council England, North Yorkshire County Council and Scarborough Council. The county council’s annual grant will be slashed by 84 per cent from £63,000 in 2010/11 to just £10,000 in 2011/12.

The letter states that until theatre bosses hear from Arts Council England, the next three years’ funding remains uncertain and that the venue’s future past April 2012 is unknown.

The notification also seeks to reassure staff that this year’s summer programme will go ahead as planned.

However as a result of the cuts the theatre has announced it is cancelling its summer tour to rural venues.

Bosses also predict their outreach department, which carries out work within the community, will be severely effected.

A spokeswoman said: “All we really know at this point is that we’re waiting to hear back.

“We can’t plan anything in advance at the moment – we need to have an idea of funding before we can plan for future shows.”

Chris Monks, artistic director at the SJT, said in a previous statement that they “strongly believe” in outreach work will continue to deliver workshops and classes within the community.

A private meeting will be held at the theatre on March 30.

l See page 18 for more information about the Stephen Joseph Theatre’s Spring/Summer programme.