Battle over theatre cash

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The Independent Online
The launch of a report calling for an increase in public money for UK theatres was undermined by an embarrassing dispute between two arts bodies.

The Theatre Commission report on subsidised theatre, commissioned by the actors' union Equity, says that the future of Britain's world class theatre industry is in jeopardy, and theatres will close if the money they receive is not increased to to make good the cumulative losses of recent years.

The commission included the artistic director of the National Theatre, Richard Eyre, the playwright David Edgar and the actor and campaigner Lord Rix.

At a press conference in London yesterday the commission listed recommendations including giving more of Department of National Heritage funding to theatres, increasing pay for actors and making selected commercial theatre projects eligible for lottery grants.

But as this last recommendation was discussed, a contingent from the Arts Council interrupted. Anna Stapleton, Arts Council director of drama, said: "Lottery money is now available for such projects." David Lister