Nica Burns, president of the Society of London Theatre, sent out a message to SOLT customers and subscribers today asking for their support against cuts in arts spending.
The unprecedented move by the usually risk-averse trade body reveals the depth of feeling and nervousness within the West End theatre community over the forthcoming Government spending revue and its impact on the arts.
In the message, Ms Burns said that she understood the need for cuts, but “we want to ensure that the government is sufficiently well informed so that cuts can be made without long lasting, terminal damage to a very successful industry.”
She also highlighted the revenue-generating potential of the arts industry, which receives a small subsidy but returns to the Treasury money from VAT, National Insurance, jobs and tourist income.
She asks supporters to sign up to an online petition to attempt to trigger a Parliament debate on the subject.
Alongside her role as president of SOLT, Nica Burns is chief executive of Nimax Theatres, one of the West End’s largest theatre owners.
Rachel Tackley, president of SOLT’s sister organisation the Theatrical Management Association, has also come out in support of the petition.