Advice notes

We’ve put together a series of advice notes that aim to answer some of the most frequent queries that we receive.

We will be adding more advice notes to this section over the coming months. Please get in touch if you have any questions not answered here.


Theatre spaces: an introduction - looking at what constitutes a theatre under law as well as the key components that make up a theatre building. It also offers a guide to some of the different types of theatre buildings. Aimed at anyone considering designing a new theatre building or making changes to an existing building, in particular theatre owners / operators, community / volunteer groups, local authorities and developers.

Please note: this does not replace the need to seek specialist advice, but sets out the issues to consider.


Protecting theatres through listing - looking at the process for protecting theatre buildings in the UK, through statutory listing, conservation areas and local listing. Aimed at community / volunteer groups, theatre operators / owners and local authorities. 

Owning a listed building - looking at the implications of owning a listed theatre building and offering advice on how to approach any necessary maintenance and building works / alterations that you may wish to make. Aimed at community / volunteer groups, theatre operators / owners and local authorities. 

Organisational advice

Forming a theatre campaign group - looking at how to build support for a campaign and put in place the right structures to suit the campaign’s aims. Aimed at community /volunteer groups who are working to save or revive a theatre in their area.

Fundraising for a capital project - looking at the various elements to consider when putting together a fundraising strategy, and the different funding sources that are likely to support a theatre capital project. Aimed at community / volunteer groups who are working to save or revive a theatre in their area or theatre operators looking to carry out a capital project on their building.

Outsourcing theatre operation - introducing different approaches of theatre operation and to highlight steps that can be taken to protect and preserve theatre provision for the community. Aimed at local authority culture and leisure departments.


How to support your theatres through the planning system - how to effectively engage with planning applications and policy. Aimed at theatre owners and operators, community groups and anyone generally interested in supporting and protecting theatres, arts centres and other performance venues.  

Promoting theatres within planning - exploring how theatres, along with other arts and cultural venues, should be promoted, protected and supported through local planning policy for the benefit of local people and the strength and sustainability of communities. Aimed at planners, particularly those working in local authorities.

Using Agent of Change to protect theatres - looking at the principle of Agent of Change and how it can be used by decision-makers to determine planning applications, and by theatres and community groups to safeguard their venues. Aimed at venue owners and operators, communities with an interest in particular venues, planners and other local authority managers and officers with responsibility for development and cultural uses, elected politicians and developers.

Using obligations to protect and improve theatres - looking at the tools that exist to require developers to support investment in new cultural buildings and how these tools can also be used to ensure these buildings are appropriate spaces. Aimed at local authority planning departments and theatre owners and operators.


Writing a viability study brief - providing advice on items to be taken into consideration when compiling a viability study brief. It also provides some outline examples for specific areas of the brief. Aimed at community / volunteer groups who are working to save or revive a theatre in their area.

Creating a Memorandum of Understanding - providing an outline example of a memorandum of understanding as well as advice as to when this may be applicable to use. Aimed at community / volunteer grups who are working to save or revive a theatre in their area.

Other useful sources of advice

ABTT Non-Conventional Theatre Spaces - a guide to providing safe performance spaces such as pop-up, immersive, promenade, site-specific and other non-traditional types of theatre.

ABTT RU Safe? - an introduction to safety in small venues.

Historic England Historic Fibrous Plaster in the UK -  interim guidance document for the care and management of fibrous plaster, supported by the Theatres Trust and other UK heritage bodies and professional associations.

Including Culture in Development: A Step-by-Step Guide - Urban Land InstituteArt Forum’s first publication provides a guide for the effective integration of meaningful culture into all types of development schemes across London.