Manifesto for Theatre launched
2 April 2011
Equity has had a long record of opposing Government policies which have failed to serve theatre, of fighting Arts Councils cuts, and of making clear what should not be the case. However, this is not enough. Members decided recently that in a changing world, with constant threats to companies, our livelihoods and theatre as a whole, we needed to develop a clear statement of what we as a union believe and what our aims and aspirations for theatre are.
This need for a clear, forward-looking policy was reinforced by the 2007 Arts Council England’s cuts to 185 companies, and the lack of consultation leading up to them, by cuts to the arts in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and by severe Government cuts in 2010 attributed to the economic crisis which the arts had no part in creating.
Members have decided that Equity needs:
A comprehensive, proactive policy on subsidised theatre.
A policy that gives Equity clarity, support and strength when dealing with Government during Spending Reviews, funding bodies during shifts in policy and funding criteria, and managements during wage negotiations.
The Equity Council responded to members’ concerns by establishing a Theatre Manifesto Working Group which coordinated company and open meetings throughout the country and a conference in March 2010. During this process three key issues were addressed:
What is the state of subsidised theatre today?
Who does it serve?
Where should it be going?
This document summarises the issues discussed and points made at these various forums by members.
This Manifesto for Theatre is intended to provide Equity members and staff with information to use in discussions with colleagues, audiences, funders and managements; with a clearer understanding of the issues around which we need to organise and campaign; and with better ammunition with which to defend and advance theatre and, through that, the entertainment industry as a whole.
Download a PDF of the full Manifesto for Theatre.