Theatres Trust’s plan to support theatres to
be fit for the future
Theatres Trust, the national advice and advocacy body for the UK’s theatres, has set out its vision and priorities for the next three years, under the new tagline “Theatres fit for the future”.
Theatres Trust will provide greater targeted support with its free advice service alongside improved data and intelligence gathering as the theatre sector deals with a new and even more challenging environment following the pandemic and in the face of the cost-of-living crisis. Its work will be underpinned by four key principles: resilience, environmental sustainability, inclusion and placemaking.
Central to this will be an expansion of Theatres Trust’s free advice service. Theatres have always called on Theatres Trust’s knowledge when undertaking capital projects and planning applications, but Theatres Trust will now provide even more guidance to theatre owners and operators on a range of management issues including business planning, governance, building management, ownership or leases. The Trust will draw on its in-house expertise as well as a pool of external consultants to act as a ‘critical friend’ to theatres.
A significant piece of work for the Trust in the next three years will be building the UK’s first
comprehensive database of theatres. The database will support information and knowledge sharing across theatres and the wider sector and form a full picture of the country’s theatre buildings, enabling Theatres Trust and other stakeholders to monitor trends and issues across the sector and provide invaluable information to help advocate on behalf of theatres.
Alongside these new areas of work, Theatres Trust continues its ongoing work as the only organisation that supports every theatre in the UK, historic or modern, commercial, subsidised or voluntary in a variety of ways. These include:
- Responding to all planning applications involving or impacting a theatre building in its role as a statutory consultee in the planning system.
- Commenting on local planning and culture policies to ensure they safeguard and promote culture, placemaking and sustainable theatre.
- Continuing the Resilient Theatres: Resilient Communities programme for another two years, offering grants and specialist training to Theatres at Risk, and webinars open to the whole sector on subjects including governance, fundraising and audience development.
- Being a driving force, alongside major industry partners, on the Theatre Green Book project, taking on the role of secretariat to support further developments and adoption across the sector.
- Running grant schemes offering funding to improve theatres’ resilience, sustainability or accessibility.
- Assisting community groups campaigning to save or revive their local theatres, particularly those on the Theatres at Risk Register.
- Publishing advice notes to support theatre owners, operators, campaign groups and local authorities with common issues relating to theatre buildings.
- Submitting and supporting heritage listing applications for buildings of particular
architectural and cultural merit to give them greater protection.
Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan says, The changes we’ve made are not radical, but they are significant. I see it is an evolution of our vision, our priorities and our work to best support theatres to meet the challenges of today and into the future.