Nica Burns, President of the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), is urging the theatre industry and theatregoers to join the Save The Arts campaign which aims to encourage people to sign a petition which will be sent to the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. 100,000 signatures are needed in order to generate a debate about arts funding in the House of Commons and currently nearly 50,000 people have signed up.
Burns, who is also Chief Executive of Nimax Theatres, commented: “I think we have all reluctantly accepted that as every single sector is being cut from education to health, it is difficult to make a case for a complete exemption for the arts. However, we do feel it is vital we keep government informed as to our industry’s specific concerns and, importantly, ensure we remain part of the central debate. It would be tragic if ill-planned cuts caused long term damage to a very successful industry which everyone in the UK can be proud of. ”
Save The Arts recognises that arts funding cuts are to be expected but points out that Britain’s vibrant arts culture is the envy of the world and asks the government not to slash arts funding, to be announced on 20 October in the Comprehensive Spending Review.
The petition reads: “Arts organisations all accept the need to reduce their budgets. But while the arts can possibly sustain a 10% funding cut, the 25-30% cuts that the government is currently considering would result in the closure of many smaller arts organisations and would also have a crippling effect on the functioning of the country’s leading arts venues.
“The arts are a major employer, and they generate far more revenue than they cost to fund. In addition they are a major attraction for tourism in the UK. While cutting arts funding may save money in the short term, in the long run it risks undermining one of the country’s most vibrant areas of growth which has been a great UK success stories over the past 20 years.”
Burns is joined in her support for Save The Arts by Rachel Tackley, the President of SOLT’s sister organisation, the Theatrical Management Association (TMA).