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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NAYT cuts jobs due to loss of funding

The National Association of Youth Theatres (NAYT) has had to make job cuts in order to stay in business. All but one of NAYT’s employees will be made redundant by the end of the year. They have also closed their office in Darlington in an effort to stem costs.

The educational charity has suffered major funding losses which has led to drastic job cuts. The Department of Education withdrew their contributions leaving them reliant on council funding. NAYT was then dealt a further blow when in March, when the Arts Council announced that NAYT, one of  the regularly funded organisations, would lose all funding provided by the council.

Jill Adamson, Chief Executive, who will remain the charity’s only employee, said in April: ‘It’s totally soul-destroying to see our organisation suffer and struggle for survival when it has played a vital role in supporting both grass-roots and high-profile organisations for almost 30 years.’

The £240,000 loss of funding has left NAYT struggling for survival. The charity was hoping to raise £100,000 by the end of the year to ensure future operations in 2012. NAYT announced in a statement that to stay in business they would charge registration fees to its members – as they had previously before being asked by the Arts Council to cease in doing so as they were a regularly funded organisation.

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