SAVE THE NORTH DEVON THEATRES

26 JANUARY. PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Devon & Cornwall General Branch of Equity, the trade union for professional performers and creative practitioners, wishes to express their strong support for the campaign to rescue the North Devon Theatres from closure and will take part in the demonstration in Barnstaple on Saturday, 28 January at noon.

 

Equity is also calling on the local council to intervene and assist and work with the North Devon Theatres' Trust to firstly re-open, maintain and protect these vital performance spaces for the local community.

 

Simon Curtis, Equity’s Regional Organiser for South West England said:

“Equity is disappointed to hear about the decision taken by North Devon Theatres' Trust to close the Queens Theatre in Barnstaple and the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe with immediate effect and to go into administration. The consequences of an immediate closure of any venue is far reaching, and in this situation the impact on the 30 full time and 80 casual staff employed by North Devon Theatres Trust cannot be underestimated. The cancellation of all future events also leaves many artists, including many Equity members, without venues to perform in and without the possibility of compensation for those who rely on them to earn a living. What is often forgotten in cases like this is the impact on the local community and local businesses which will also undoubtedly be affected by the drop off in visitors and revenue because these venues have gone dark.

 

We urge the local council to intervene and assist and work with the North Devon Theatres' Trust in the short term to firstly re-open, maintain and protect these vital performance spaces for the local community and for the wider professional community in Devon and beyond. We see this as a first step towards a wider discussion amongst all stakeholders to secure these venues for future generations of performers.”

 

A branch spokesperson said: “For many of us these lovely little theatres have offered a welcoming home for our work as performers. They have nurtured young professionals as they take their early steps in their careers. They have encouraged the local community to take part in performances, thus developing confidence and new skills. They have brought pleasure, enlightenment and relaxation to so many people.

 

Theatre has traditionally always been at the heart of any community. It is popular, creates jobs, generates well-being, initiates ideas, helps our economy, regenerates communities, encourages tourism, stimulates education, and strengthens its community.

 

North Devon simply cannot afford to lose this valuable part of its community resource.”

 

“Arts and culture generate more per pound invested than the health, wholesale and retail, professional and business services sectors‎.” [Arts Council England Report 2013] Arts funding can therefore be argued as an investment, not a grant. Every pound invested in the arts generates two to seven pounds in return, depending on the exact art form supported. On these figures there was never an economic case to cut a single pound from the levels of investment.

 

Contact:

Simon Curtis  scurtis@equity.org.uk T 029 20 397971  M 07798 750254 

National and Regional Organiser - Wales and South West England

Equity, Transport House, 1 Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF11 9SD

Nigel Howells, Branch Secretary    equitydevonandcornwall@gmail.com

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