New funding arrangements for the Rose Theatre announced

Agreement has been reached between the Council and Kingston Theatre Trust on a new five year arrangement for funding for the Rose Theatre which will provide long term security.

The new agreement lasts until March 2020 and replaces the previous one which was due to finish in March 2016.

The previous arrangement involved complicated payments between the Theatre Trust, which runs the Rose Theatre, the Council and Kingston University. The new arrangement is much simpler; the Rose will receive payment for the hire for events and for tickets for schools to attend performances, and the complicated funding and leasing arrangements which were put in place at the time of the Rose’s opening will be removed.

Under the new arrangements the Rose will be freed from repaying loans and leases to the Council and to the limited liability partnership set up with Kingston University. The rent paid by the Rose will be reduced, but to balance this out, the Rose will no longer receive a grant of £500,000 per annum from the Council as it did under the previous arrangements. Instead, for the next five years, the Council will guarantee £265,000 per annum in exchange for tickets for local school students to attend events and to buy time in the Rose for cultural events such as school music festivals, the International Youth Arts Festival and Mayor’s events. In addition to this there will be a small subsidy from the Council to the Theatre Trust of £52,000 reducing to zero by 2020.

The net effect on the Council’s budget for this year will be zero, with savings increasing over the next five years as the funding tapers downward.

For the Theatre Trust the deal provides a stable funding stream and improved opportunities to raise money in sponsorship and grants, because writing off the loans and removing the equipment lease will assure potential funders that their money will be used to fund art rather than to pay debts to the Council and Kingston University.

Councillor David Glasspool, Lead Member for Arts, Leisure and Heritage said,

"The Rose makes an important contribution to the cultural life of the borough and the local economy. These new simplified arrangements clarify the relationship between the Rose and the Council and should assist the Rose in securing external funding and making financial plans for its long term future. They also continue to deliver access for Kingston residents to a range of cultural activities and events throughout the year."

Robert O'Dowd, Chief Executive Officer of the Kingston Theatre Trust said,

"These changes are important for the Rose and the new agreement is welcome. In simplifying and making transparent the relationship between the Council and the Rose it washes out earlier complications. Removing the historic debt and equipment lease in favour of the new arrangements frees the Trust of that debt on the balance sheet and so will help us to attract independent philanthropists and funders who, together with the borough and Kingston University, are equally essential to the future of the Rose. This new agreement with the Council secures a funding stream until 2020 which will help us to plan and programme the theatre better for all our audiences.”