Safeguarding regional theatre

SALISBURY Playhouse’s artistic director Gareth Machin joined Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle to highlight the strengths of regional theatre and the potential threat it faces if there are more cuts to arts funding.

He joined the director of Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and Slumdog Millionaire, along with Sir Nicholas Hytner, artistic director of the National Theatre, for a conference on Thursday.

Machin said: “We wanted to celebrate the success and the enormous contribution that regional theatre makes but also to highlight some of the specific challenges that theatres are facing.”

He said theatre is very important within the community and boosts the economy with the additional visitor spend it brings in.

“The Playhouse brings £10m into Salisbury,” he said. “With 100,000 people a year coming into the city, they park, they eat in local restaurants, they stay in hotels and there are the services the Playhouse itself uses.

“For every pound that goes in to the arts, the treasury sees £5 come back.”

Machin said Salisbury Playhouse has been lucky as Wiltshire Council has made an “incredible commitment to the arts” and it has received the same level of funding for four years, but he said it is not typical across the country, with some theatres seeing 100 per cent cuts to their funding.

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