Written evidence submitted by Birmingham Hippodrome, Newcastle Theatre, Royal Norwich Theatre, Mayflower Theatre and The Marlowe Theatre
ABOUT THIS CONSORTIUM
We are a consortium of regional theatre venues connected by:-
- large-scale stages and auditoria (ranging from 1,194 – 2,270 seats);
- all being independent theatres and registered charities;
- not being NPOs or in receipt of regular funding support from Arts Council England (ACE);
- year round presentation of a wide-range of high quality artistic work originating from both the subsidised and commercial sectors and spanning all genres;
- annually presenting the work of ACE NPO touring companies and ACE-funded companies as part of our mixed programmes at large scale and, in the case of 3 of the venues, also at small and mid-scale;
- significant additional programmes of work across artist development, learning, education and training.
OUR CURRENT POSITION
- Since the government’s advice to the public to avoid theatres and then the subsequent instruction to shut down, this has meant, on average, the immediate loss of 96% of our venues’ income (84% from ticket sales and 12% from onsite bar, restaurant and events income).
- Over a projected six month closure period, based on 2018/19 trading data, our collective total loss of income is estimated at £29.6million (average of £5.91million per venue).
- The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has allowed us significant support through the crisis and towards recovery, however due to the scale of operations, lack of annual public subsidy and higher reliance on self-generated income, we still need an emergency funding package equivalent to those large venues that are Arts Council England NPOs if we are to fully recover.
OUR SUPPORT FOR ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND FUNDED TOURING WORK
- In 2019 our venues collectively facilitated the generation of £18.3million in Gross Box Office income for productions presented in our venues by Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations. This represents collective reach of this work to 491,000 audience members and a collective total of 453 days on our six stages.
- Our venues are vital to the regular touring circuits of major companies including Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Dance Consortium, Northern Ballet, National Theatre, RSC, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Rambert, Glyndebourne and English Touring Opera.
- On average each of our venues gives 13 weeks (25%) of stage time each year to present ACE-funded touring productions and, in doing so, generate an average financial retention of £34,764 per week. Across the remaining weeks of the year, our average weekly retention is £60,259 per week. This represents an estimated average lost opportunity cost of £25,495 for each week of ACE-funded work amounting to £331,435 per year per venue.
- We also collectively give £428,972 of in-kind technical support to ACE funded touring work.
OUR SUPPORT FOR ARTISTS & COMMUNITIES
- Our venues collectively employ 51 people to deliver our programmes of studio, artist development and community and education work annually investing £1,208,397 of our own funds in delivering 9,217 individual events
- Our collective studio, artist development and community and education activities reach 445,048 participants and generate 49,973 attendances at Studio-scale performances and 90,851 attendances at free outdoor events.
- We are also major investors in developing, commissioning and producing new work at all scales with an annual collective total of £1,243,441 direct investment.
- Our venues play as important a role in sustaining a healthy touring ecology of ACE-funded work as those large regional venues within the NPO portfolio and will need as much support, if not more due to a greater % loss of income and no ability to rely on public funding during closure, to recover and continue to support the touring of ACE-funded work.
- Without a significant emergency funding intervention, in order to re-stabilise and ensure individual venues’ recovery, it is clear that we will be forced to look at where lost income generating opportunities exist within our programmes.
- Current levels of ACE-funded work in our programmes are likely to be significantly reduced in favour of programming with higher commercial returns (e.g. musicals) risking de-stabilising well-established touring circuits and long-standing connections between ACE NPO companies and audiences.
- With pressures to cut fixed costs and drive ongoing annual costs savings, without funding intervention, our commitment to studio, artist development and community and education work is likely to be heavily eroded at best and wiped out at worst.
Fiona Allan Philip Bernays Stephen Crocker
Birmingham Hippodrome Newcastle Theatre Royal Norwich Theatre
Michael Ockwell Deborah Shaw
Mayflower Theatre The Marlowe Theatre
 All data relates to main stage (large scale) only for consistency unless otherwise stated