Sutton's theatres have future after new deal

Sutton's theatres have future after new dealBoth of Sutton's theatres are set to be taken over by a new theatre company, ensuring that the venues have a future. The Sutton Theatres Trust will now be taking over both playhouses, helping to support the arts in the area.

The decision was made by members of Sutton Council's Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee on January 15th and now the Sutton Theatres Trust will be taking over the running of the Secombe Theatre in Sutton and the Charles Cryer Studio Theatre in Carshalton.

This follows on from a review of cultural services in August by Sutton Council, using its Sutton's Future campaign. The campaign involves getting the public to help reshape council services so as to save £40 million annually to bring costs in line with the government cuts that will be affecting the budget in 2019.

As a result of this review, the council promised to locate an arts group that was able to take over management and ownership of the theatres without incurring any costs for the council. If it was unable to find a group, both theatres would have been sold.

After a number of meetings and workshops involving possible groups, and 1,262 online and telephone responses to the survey, the council has successfully found a group that is suitable to take on the task. 

Sutton Theatres Trust will now sign a deal to lease both of the theatres for ten years. It was chosen over another bid due to artistic and community value, governance, financial stability and sustainability, and track record.

The trust will now be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of both theatres, providing £28,000 a year in savings to the council.

Councillor Jill Whitehead, chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee, said: “We are delighted to have secured a future for both our theatres. This is a great example of the council and the community working in tandem to shape the future of our borough in an extremely difficult time of continued cuts.

“The quality of the Sutton Theatres Trust submission was excellent and clearly shows the passion that our community has for our theatres. They have greater expertise in theatre management which means these cultural centres will no longer be a drain on the council tax payer.

“The timescale was tight and a lot of hard work has gone into the bidding process so I would like to thank everyone that has taken part in the consultation.”

Published 28th January, 2015

© 2015 Estates IT Limited

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