The Theatres Trust

Cuts may force closure of Hull Truck Theatre

21st November 2010

The future of Yorkshire’s famous Hull Truck TCouncillors in Hull will be discussing cuts of up to 40 per cent to the subsidy paid to the organisation.heatre could be threatened if its budget is slashed by councillors, its chief executive has warned.

They will decide whether to reduce it by up to £150,000 a year, a move its chief executive Andrew Smaje says would be a “complete disaster” and could even bring the curtain down on the organisation. The theatre, which is its second year at its new £15m home on Ferensway, has already seen Arts Council funding reduced by nearly £40,000 to £520,000.

Mr Smaje said: “No decision has been made yet so it would be inappropriate to comment in detail on something that has yet to be decided. We fully accept that these are tough and challenging times for everybody – so we know that cuts are almost inevitable. However, if we are looking at this level of funding cuts, they would be two or three times worse than the cuts from central government.

He added: “Hull Truck Theatre is one of very few city-specific brand names in Hull – and a national ambassador for the city through its touring work.

“Suffering cuts to funding, potentially of up to £200,000 a year from central and local government, would have serious ramifications for this company, which is now a major employer in the city and a principal player in making the people of Hull feel good about where they live and what Hull is capable of.

“Should the funding cuts be as severe as this document suggests, the council’s investment in Hull Truck may well have been wasted – there’s a serious risk that the company would be unable to continue trading.” Officers are recommending a £150,000 cut rather than a £100,000 cut, which would help to protect the council’s £250,000 contribution to the annual Freedom Festival.

Council leader Carl Minns said: “We don’t want to pull the rug out from under Hull Truck. The council are committed to working with it and making it a success in tough financial times.”

Labour councillor Phil Webster said the council was not a “cash cow” and the theatre “needed to start planning to stand on its own two feet.” He added: “The first port of call is always Hull City Council and I don’t think that’s right or fair on the people of the city.”

Source: Yorkshire Post East Riding Mail

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