Theatre Rallies Local and National Support to help fight Arts Council Funding Cuts
Caroline Sharman – Director has been overwhelmed by the responses received over the past few days regarding the Arts Council decision to cut The Theatre’s funding for 2008/9. Last week we wrote to all the Friends of The Theatre asking them to write to Felicity Harvest, Executive Director of Arts Council South East so far we have received over 200 responses. MP David Cameron has pledged his full support to us, as have the Chief Executives of West Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire County Council, our local councillors, local dignitaries, business leaders and the local community. The deadline for The Theatre’s official response was today for a meeting on 24th January. If you would like to register your support, please email Felicity Harvest at email@example.com and copy Caroline in on firstname.lastname@example.org - letters need to be on her desk by 22nd January. “I don’t envy Felicity Harvest’s postman” Katy at The Theatre
Quotes from organizations and known figures in the community
“This is a small theatre in the heart of West Oxfordshire which, among other things, provides
innovative ideas including entrepreneurial new work from all around the world adding real
value to the experiences of my constituents and those further afield."
David Cameron MP (Leader of the Opposition)
“The Youth Theatre was my secret haven; a once-a-week dose of creative exploration, bringing children together from all across the county, some of whom I am still friends with today. The Theatre itself provokes hundreds of local communities into organising trips and forming film and theatre discussion groups, and of course, provides the best Christmas panto in England.... The idea that such an institution should be deemed socially irrelevant is frankly ludicrous, I wholly reject any proposal to cut funding to this wonderful contributor to English cultural heritage.”
Rupert Friend (Actor – Pride and Prejudice)
“It would be almost vindictive to deprive The Theatre of their annual grant. They do an incredible variety of work there and Arts Council funding allows them to take a few risks and be innovative, the virtues McMaster recommends in the pursuit of excellence. Arts Council support and blessing is a vital feather in any arts organisation's cap and there is, I suggest, no valid artistic reason for withdrawal.”
David Wood (Children’s Laureate, National Children’s Dramatist)
The Theatre Chipping Norton of mixing the traditional with the innovative has been exemplary. To cut the funding to a grass roots centre of creativity of that kind threatens the development of interest in the arts over a wide area. It goes against the principle voiced in your own presentation of the Spending Review at Eastleigh.
Simon Brett (writer)
“We find it difficult to understand your rationale (Arts Council) for the recommendation in view of the fact that The Theatre Chipping Norton serves such a cross section of the public reaching cross-county boundaries providing artistic innovation.”
David Neudegg (Chief Executive West Oxfordshire District Council)
“As Town Mayor I am constantly meeting colleagues throughout the region who look with envy on the town for its lovely theatre. I would rather staff of The Theatre were able to concentrate on what they do best – providing entertainment and cultural enrichment – than having to spend even more time seeking funding.”
Gina Burrows (Chipping Norton Town Mayor)
“It is a cultural beacon in this area and a wonderful inspiration for all ages”
Lizzie Pickering (Events Manager, Helen & Douglas House)
“As a Visual and Performing Arts School in a rural area, The Theatre, Chipping Norton has been able to provide our students and the local community access to excellent and often innovative work.”
Maureen Hole (Director Visual & Performing Arts, Wood Green School)
Chipping Norton Theatre is a buoyant, vigorous and successful organization producing art, Drama, Music and Education in this area. It deserves every penny it receives in funding.
John Woodvine (Actor)
We have also received messages of support from Graeme Garden, Jeremy Clarkson,
Louise Page (Writer), Alex James and Will Gompertz (Director of the Tate).