Theatre’s managers are set for dual role
Council bosses approved negotiations to take place with the provider at the theatre to include the arts centre within the contract arrangements, at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
In March, the authority launched a programme to find alternative ways to fund its leisure and cultural services by outsourcing its management to private providers.
The council has to make savings of £3.6m from its leisure and culture budget by April next year.
Speaking at the meeting, Garry Perkins, cabinet member for economy, regeneration and culture, said interested parties linked with the arts centre will have an involvement before contracts are signed and while contracts are being exchanged.
“It’s recognised that they are two separate venues with different areas of the market,” said Coun Perkins, who represents the Shaw ward.
“We will ensure it’s written into the contract.”
Leader of the Labour group Jim Grant criticised the proposals, saying it would be difficult to write up a contract covering the different forms of entertainment a theatre should be showcasing.
“It’s about getting the wording right,” said Coun Perkins.
“We will work with the existing users of the arts centre to develop ways of moving forward to make sure their views are being taken into account.”
The Arts Centre for the Community Group made an unsuccessful bid to take over the management of the theatre. Its chairman, Alan Wrixon, said he intended to work closely with the council to safeguard its future.
“We hope to make sure that broadly the same programme is on offer,” said Alan. “And amateur groups are given the same kind of access to the building. Also we don’t want there to be any massive price hikes.”
He said a meeting with council officers is being arranged.
Around £500,000 is going to be slashed from the Wyvern and arts centre’s budget. It is hoped through sharing management and marketing teams a saving can be made without impacting on the service provided for residents.