Grants cut poses threat to theatre ticket prices

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THEATRES such as the National may have to raise ticket prices or cut back on productions next year as the Arts Council is threatened with a pounds 1.4m cut in government grant.

The council's drama panel is recommending continued support for all 60 or so theatres nation-wide - which means a smaller allocation all round.

For companies, such as the National, which received more than pounds 11m this year to help mount lavish productions such as Carousel, this could mean a loss of more than pounds 220,000.

The Government has signalled its intention to cut the Arts Council budget by pounds 5m next year but figures will not be revealed until December. Currently its drama budget stands at more than pounds 40m. An Arts Council spokeswoman said: 'If the council follows the panel's recommendations this inevitably means everyone will get up to 2 per cent less revenue.'

However the panel's recommendation is good news for provincial rep companies, such as the Bristol Old Vic and Birmingham Rep, which seemed most at risk. The panel had the option of recommending to the council in September that it should drop some of the theatres which depend on it.

This has already happened in the fields of literature and music, where two London orchestras are to lose their grant.