Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham Repertory Theatre cuts 'not enough for upkeep'

The theatre
Image caption A cut in funding of about two thirds would "severely limit" the theatre's ability to produce a year-round programme

Birmingham Repertory Theatre (REP) says it is facing a 62% cut in council funding leaving bosses struggling to cover its upkeep and overheads.

The proposed cut of £325,000 for 2017-18, would see investment drop to £200,000, the "lowest received by any other comparable theatre".

While accepting the difficult position the council is in, the theatre said it has "done all it can" to absorb cuts.

The council is facing a budget overspend of £49m.

A further £78m of savings are required to balance the 2017-18 council budget, it was revealed last month.

The theatre said it was being asked to operate with £900,000 less per year than it had in 2010.

Image copyright John James
Image caption Stuart Rogers, executive director, said 'there is a limit to what the theatre can do'

Stuart Rogers, executive director, said: "The REP has worked hard to absorb the ongoing cuts with great success, however there is a limit to what we can do.

"A cut of this magnitude means that Birmingham City Council is now giving The REP less than we have to spend on the basic overheads and upkeep of the theatre - a building that is owned by the city council."

Since 2010 the theatre has increased its income by 54% and received grants from Arts Council England and raised money from private trusts, a spokesman said.

Gary Topp, director of Culture Central, which represents Birmingham's arts organisations, said a "radical new proposition for cultural investment" in Birmingham was needed but he was disappointed by the council's response to these calls.

The council said it faced "unprecedented cuts" and must make savings of £180m over the next few years - on top of around £590m in cuts since 2010.

The authority was still investing more than £3.2m into Birmingham's arts and was willing to engage to consider new approaches.

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