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Plymouth City Council consider funding pledge for theatre
9:30am Monday 3rd September 2012 in Devon
Plymouth’s cabinet members will consider a funding package that could unlock millions of pounds to help the Theatre Royal regeneration plans and the city’s economy.
The theatre has announced a substantial refurbishment project that includes a new auditorium, better access, as well as a makeover of the public areas outside the building to help the regeneration of the west end of the City Centre and keep visitors coming for years to come.
The theatre has applied for £5 million Arts Council funding, but it is conditional on Plymouth City Council committing to three years funding and the theatre raising another £2 million. A report to Cabinet on 11 September sets out a proposal which would see the Council withhold its revenue grant of £665,000 for three years and instead put in a lump sum of procured capital works worth £1,995,000 as match funding. A restructure of the lease arrangement on the council-owned theatre building to meet Arts Council security requirements is also being proposed.
Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Mark Lowry said: "The theatre plays an extremely important role in attracting visitors to Plymouth from across the region. It is a key player in our growing arts and creative industries sector – one of Plymouth’s priority growth sectors.
"By being creative with the assets we own and changing how we support the theatre financially, we can help the theatre access some considerable funding – which will be good for the theatre and good for the city. We obviously have to be conscious of our own budget pressures, but we think this solution strikes the right balance and hope this will get approval to support the theatre with its plans and ambitions.”
The Cabinet report highlights the valuable contribution the theatre makes to the city – not just through its audiences that come from across the region, but the contribution it makes to culture and the arts within Plymouth. It brings in an estimated £26 million to the city’s economy every year and has the third highest economic impact of all 541 theatres in the UK after the National Theatre in London and RSC in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Chief Executive of the Theatre Royal Adrian Vinken said: "We’d like to thank the Council for the particularly complex work that it has undertaken around this project to get it to this stage.
"We hope that the Cabinet will support this funding package as without their support, our proposed redevelopment would simply not happen and the associated physical improvements, economic, social and cultural benefits would be lost to the city."
The regeneration project, which was granted planning permission in February 2012, will renovate the ageing Council asset and redevelop its public areas, making it fit for purpose for the next 30 years. It entails:
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