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Theatres Trust report says West End theatres require £250 million to bring to 21st century standards.
A report entitled ACT NOW! Modernising London's West End Theatres published by The Theatres Trust estimates that a total of around £250 million will need to be spent on West End theatres over a 15-year period to bring them to 21st century standards if they are to keep pace with the public's expectations and the needs of performers and producers.
The report summarises a two year study with leading theatre owners and with the Society of London Theatre.
The Trust's Director, Peter Longman, said: "We all know what's wrong with these theatres - nearly all of them are 100 years old and they reflect the conventions of a very different era. The owners recognise the problems and are doing all they can to modernise and improve things. Our report explains why the theatres were built as they are and invest- igates the economics of theatre ownership. Our researches have demon- strated that it is no longer realistic to expect owners to put things right without outside assistance. Theatres all over the rest of the country, and the subsidised ones in London, have been receiving help for modernisation programmes over many years. We have looked at what needs to be done and what it would cost, and at some possible sources of funding. We will now be seeking to discuss these issues with other interested parties and with the Government."
Richard Pulford, Chief Exec- utive of the Society of London Theatre said: "We very much welcome this report, which sets in context one of the key challenges facing commercial theatre and its owners. We are fortunate that at present the owners of the largest West End theatre groups are all genuinely interested in maintaining live theatres and are themselves investing heavily in maintaining the fabric of their buildings. The challenge, however, is to mod- ernise these buildings for the next generation and beyond. West End theatre makes a huge contribution to London's economy - the 40 commercial theatres sell 10 million tickets each year and produce over £200 million of tax revenues for the Government, as well as generating a spend of over £400 million on other aspects of the UK economy."
More details can be found at the Theatre Trusts' Web site