A report on The Interdependence of Public and Private Finance in British Theatre (Heatherington, S.) was published by Arts Council Englandin partnership with Birmingham Hippodrome and the Theatres Trust in 2015. Although the report estimated that public funds represent only around 14% of total income in the theatre sector, it said it was essential to enable theatres to experiment and reduce risk, and support the industry’s infrastructure and attract private sector funding. The author warns that if public subsidy continues to decrease, theatre producers/operators may be disinclined to take risks in programming.
ACE’s investment in theatre accounted for about GB£ 300 million between 2015-18, which represented about 30% of expenditure on its National Portfolio Organisations. In addition, other grants and funds benefit theatre. Moreover, between 2012-2018 ACE committed c. GB£ 100 million in capital funds for theatre buildings. In 2015 ACE commissioned an analysis of the theatre landscape from the Burns Owen Partnership and Graham Devlin Associates. The resulting report, Analysis of Theatre in England, published by the Council in 2016, provided a basis for ACE’s priorities for theatre. ACE identified a number of proposals to strengthen the theatre sector. These are investing in up to three new ‘producing hubs’ outside London that will test a place-based approach to supporting risk-taking, and developing talent and audiences. It will also increase the range of leadership and workforce programmes and explore ways of improving the diversity of senior executive appointments. ACE will seek to strengthen touring and supporting risk by, for example, the possible development of a ‘guarantee against loss’ scheme, and it intends to work with others on action research projects to explore approaches to building cross-over audiences for both live and live-to-digital theatre.
Ticket sales for public and private theatre in the UK 2018 were assessed at 34 million on the basis of data from UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre. Ticket revenue was GB£ 1.28 billion from 62,945 performances. In 2018, there were 296,000 jobs in the music, performing arts and visual arts sectors. This constitutes a 4.9% increase from 2017 and a 39% increase from 2011.
An All-Party Parliamentary Group for Theatre has been established to support the resilience and relevance of theatre in the UK for audiences, society and the industry, as well as identify and discuss potential opportunities and issues for theatre. The group also intends to assist Members of Parliament to have a greater understanding of theatre and the performing arts industry.
A major issue for theatre in general and commercial theatre in particular have been the considerable increases in business rates applied by local authorities in England and Wales. Business rates are based on an assessment of a property’s rateable value and depend on the size and location of the site. The increase, applicable from April 2017, was the first re-evaluation of such rates since 2010. Most non-profit theatres avoided the full impact of the increase because they are registered charities, which entitles them to rates relief.
UK Theatre, formerly the Theatrical Management Association, is the principal membership body for theatre and performing arts organisations in the UK. It offers advocacy, advice including legal guidance, negotiation and contracts with trade unions, as well as organising training, conferences and events (e.g. the annual UK Theatre Awards). The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) represents the interests of producers, theatre owners and managers in London’s theatre industry. It encourages theatregoing by, for example, discounted theatre ticketing, theatre tokens and a ’Kids Week’. It also provides advice on employment matters, manages collective bargaining with the entertainment unions, collects data and organises events such as the annual Olivier Awards. The Theatres Trust is the national advisory public body for theatre set up by government in 1976 to promote better protection of theatre buildings in the UK. It has a statutory right to be consulted on theatre in the planning system.
ACE’s goals for dance in its 2018-20 Corporate priorities are to investigate how the sector can maximise available support networks and develop career progression routes in South Asian dance, urban genres and new technologies. It also seeks to ensure there is a more even distribution of the dance infrastructure and undertake research on the current landscape for the independent dance sector.
One Dance UK supports professionals working in the dance sector to achieve excellence, whether in performance, education or management, and is an advocate for enhancing the profile of dance. It seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of dancers and improve conditions for dance to be learnt. It offers the Level 3 Award in supporting the delivery of Dance Education in School Sport.