The Rose Theatre in Kingston has hurdled many obstacles over the years as, led by some incredibly dedicated and passionate individuals, it has battled hard to successfully establish itself as one of the country’s most unique theatres as well as being a vitally important presence in Kingston upon Thames.
However, an application for funding from The Arts Council (which the theatre has never benefitted from to date) to continue the theatre’s work has been recently turned down. This is quite a blow for the theatre, but they are used to battles and showed their normal fighting spirit as they declared the show must go on.
Stephen Unwin, Artistic Director said:
“We are very disappointed by today’s news. The Arts Council made its goals clear, and the Rose’s application demonstrated that we are meeting those goals: through the quality of our home-grown productions, our extensive programme of community engagement, and our work with and for young people. 350,000 people have visited the Rose since we opened in January 2008 and 50,000 have been involved in Rose Plus, our award-winning Learning and Participation Programme.
With cuts announced for the Waterman’s in Hounslow, the Orange Tree in Richmond, the Battersea Arts Centre in Wandsworth and Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, the funding situation in South West London is now worse than ever and the contrast with East London – especially the Olympic Boroughs – is stark. It’s clear that a large part of the Mayor of London’s cultural strategy has been ignored:
Cultural provision varies markedly across the capital. This is especially the case with the outer London boroughs where the sector faces particular challenges in terms of resources and recognition, receiving significantly less on average from both local and regional funding bodies. (Cultural Metropolis, 2010)
Sir Peter Hall, the Rose’s Director Emeritus, has written:
“This morning's news is sad stuff indeed. I am only too well aware that the Rose is one of many arts organisations in some turmoil today and it is indeed an indictment of our times that so many are equally at risk. Since it opened its doors three years ago, the Rose has produced a strong artistic programme and the building itself, unique in its architecture, has become an important cultural centre. The Rose has achieved this with the support of the local authority, Kingston University and a loyal and enthusiastic audience. Yet it has been without the crucial Arts Council subsidy that would have given it security. The Council's decision not to back the Rose can only be described as an absolute slap in the face.”
And Dame Judi Dench has offered her support:
“Whether it’s as a cultural centre for the local communities or as a landmark theatre providing world-class drama, I ask that you join me in helping the Rose to bloom.”
The Rose will continue to stage productions of the very highest standards, attract visiting companies from across Britain and around the world, and present a huge range of one night events, concerts, comedy and talks. We will also continue to make an enormous contribution to the economy of Kingston upon Thames.
Today’s news from the Arts Council is in sharp contrast to the very generous and far sighted investment in the Rose made by RBK and Kingston University.
But this is a difficult day for the thousands of people who care about the Rose and have invested so much time, energy and money into making it work.”
If anyone would like to learn more about the benefits of sponsoring the theatre and its work, or simply to become a benefactor of this fabulous centre for the performing arts, please contact Roger Chown on 020 8939 4059.
Member since: 10th July 2012
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