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Launch of the Theatres Trust’s Conference 13 report: Thriving Theatres

The Theatres Trust’s thriving theatres conference report has launched publicly at the international entertainment technology event, PLASA London. Written by playwright Fin Kennedy, the report provides valuable case studies and insight into some of the innovative capital solutions and local engagement strategies being adopted by theatres which are helping them to thrive in these challenging times.

thriving theatres was chaired by Vikki Heywood CBE and took place at the new St James Theatre in London on 11 June 2013 in front of a packed auditorium of delegates.

The report’s author, Fin Kennedy said: “The Theatres Trust’s Conference 13 took place at a critical time just before the announcement of the 2013 spending review. For some thriving theatres was still a question, for others it was a challenge to which they had risen. We also heard from those for whom it was a statement of fact. Encouragingly we heard from theatres reaching out to broker new connections with those around them. Those that were making a genuine, expansive effort to communities up and down the country were clearly thriving.”

The conference looked at four main themes – creating the facilities for greater community engagement, the opportunities associated with ‘Localism’, theatres speaking up for their value as cultural and community assets in the planning system, and commercially focused capital developments that were helping theatres to be more financially resilient.

Key principles and conclusions from the day are highlighted in the report. These include recommendations that theatres should play an active part in their Local Enterprise Partnerships and Neighbourhood Forums and look to register as Assets of Community Value with their local authorities. The report also recommends that theatres find ways of influencing planning policy locally to harness the benefits of the Community Infrastructure Levy and to avoid being negatively affected by adjacent residential development which, following relaxation of planning regulations, doesn’t require planning permission.

Looking forward to the Trust’s Conference 14, its director, Mhora Samuel says: “Localism and planning changes have had a major impact on the way theatres are valued in their communities. Whilst cuts in traditional funding routes are clearly affecting many theatres, there are those that are thriving through harnessing local opportunities which open up new channels to funding. There is also a sea change in the way communities are becoming more involved in providing and running their local theatres.

Next year, on Monday 28 April 2014 in Leeds, Conference 14: Community Theatres will look at this very important development and hear from those championing theatres in our local communities.”

8th October 2013

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