East Riding Theatre have been pushing out a message of solidarity and positivity, fighting not just for their own survival but the survival of theatres across Britain. On Monday, 6th July that message got the theatre on national news.
In response to the government’s announcement of an additional £1.57 billion arts sector funding, ERT’s artistic director Adrian Rawlins was interviewed for the lead story on BBC News At Six.
The story explored the government’s commitment, outlining how big an impact the funding package will have whilst discussing it’s limits in the context of theatres that have already started redundancy talks. Although Adrian welcomed the announcement as a brilliant step forwards for the arts sector, he was keen to outline a message of caution about the future:
“Quite a few theatres have felt like they’re on death row and hopefully [new funding] can be the lifeline that can bring them back to life.
“Whether the funding will come to us [at ERT], we don’t know. We will have to wait and see about applications and pray that it does. If it doesn’t, I don’t know what we’re going to do. Our only revenue is ticket revenue, so without getting people through the door, our future is very uncertain.”
Whether new funding will reach small, independent and regional theatres like ERT, who have not relied on public funds before, is something of a grey area. The government has not yet stated how the money will be divided amongst competing art forms and regions, or how the application process will work, leaving remaining uncertainty.
Gloom aside, ERT are nevertheless delighted to hear about the government’s announcement. As an instrumental figure in the Public Campaign For The Arts Campaign, the announcement comes as a culmination of emotions. A sense of relief that hours of hard work have paid off. Hope that our future, and the theatre industry’s future, is moving towards becoming more secure. And, a sense of pride that plucky theatres like us have stood up and been heard.
In true theatre-fashion, ERT and everyone involved in campaigning have shown that theatres will not go quietly. They will encore and encore and encore until they are heard.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has written to their MP, shared posts and made noise, you’re as much a part of ERT as anyone, and you’ve helped bring about a huge step towards arts sector safety. Thank you.