London arts cuts – seriously bad news

London arts cuts – seriously bad news


norman lebrecht

March 10, 2011

Local councils around London have announced their budget reductions for the coming year and several of the city’s most ambitious and successful venues are in the firing line.

Worst hit, at first glance, is the Young Vic which has been told that Lambeth Council is cutting its arts allocation by 19%. How much of a hit the Vic will take is not yet known but the theatre is one that combines intense community work with bringing in directors of the calibre of Luc Bondy and Patrice Chereau, as well as operas by Birtwistle, Henze and Jonathan Dove. I will be first in line to rally for its survival.

The Barbican has got off relatively lightly with a seven percent trim from the City of London, while the relentlessly left-political Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn will lose ten percent from Brent.
Sir Peter Hall’s Shakespeare-styled Rose Theatre in Kingston has lost a quarter of its funding.

Arts Council England will announce national grants at the end of the month. Nails are being bitten to the quick.
Footnote on the Young Vic: Its grant from Lambeth is just £15,000. The cut won’t kill.
It so happens that the Young Vic pay Lambeth in rent exactly what Lambeth gives them in subsidy. I guess they could just ask for a rent rebate. 


  • Tony says:

    On 10 March the Financial Times published an interview with Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, which includes mention of an initiative of an £80m package to boost private-giving to the arts in a scheme that sees the culture department match every £1 of private funding raised by cash-strapped arts bodies.
    What we need next is a new sensible tax strategy to encourage corporate donations and bring immediate extra benefit to those arts organisations who work hard to track them down. Time to revise the Arts Council style of strategy which has become too arcane and encouraged dependency. This has also created an Upstairs/Downstairs clique of favoured luvvies and their empires who get more than their fair share.