RSC’s touring and education partnership branches out to new regions

April 2012 will see the Royal Shakespeare Company work with five new theatres as part of their touring and education partnership. Regions such as Hull, Newcastle and Southampton will take part in the RSC’s Learning and Performance Network (LPN).

The RSC is currently working with 400 primary and secondary schools through the LPN across the UK. The project, which was established in 2006, involves taking professional RSC artists to work with students from all different backgrounds and changing the way they experience and explore Shakespeare.  Partnerships made with participating schools and theatres last for three years, providing students with long term exposure to Shakespeare.

Hull Truck Theatre Company, Newcastle Theatre Royal, York Theatre Royal, Hall for Cornwall and Nuffield Theatre, Southampton are the new additions to the long list of theatres involved in the LPN. The theatres will run three-year programmes with schools in the surrounding area offering local artists, students and teachers the opportunity to develop their training, teaching and performance skills with RSC artists. The 2012/13 schedule will see schools and theatres explore King Lear. 

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TMA to help support local authorities

A new scheme has been launched by the Theatrical Management Association (TMA) to help local authorities sustain theatre provisions. TMA will provide advice on reducing costs and boosting income and link up organisations facing similar challenges.

Chief executive of TMA, Julian Bird said: ‘We have started to gather a database of good practice all around the UK and will happily signpost authorities to other organisations facing similar challenges so that they can find out what is working and what isn’t.’

Philip Bernays, TMA council member and chief executive of Newcastle Theatre Royal, revealed that last year savings were made of around £164,000  through communication and collaboration between 10 different organisations. He said: ‘By taking new approaches to procurement, all organisations are making major savings on their insurance costs. We have proved that there are ways of sustaining quality services by working collectively to save money.’

TMA will approach industry bodies for local government to offer their support. Funding has become one of the most pressing issues  facing theatres as local authorities face making huge cuts to their budgets.

President of TMA, Rachel Tackley said: ‘We that know Local Authorities are under enormous financial pressure but there is a difference between looking to make management changes that will lead to greater value for investment and making un-strategic cuts that threaten community assets. We applaud Councils such as Coventry and Bristol that are safeguarding arts funding because they understand the value of theatre in their communities, but other authorities are also showing strong leadership by supporting arts organisations through a managed period of change. In other places the sector is coming together to work out new ways of reducing back office costs and increasing earned income.’

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