Coping Strategies of British Theatre Venues: a study by Judit Bolla

Judit Bolla is the principal investigator of a study dealing with theatre venues in England and the Netherlands. She created this article as part of the MA program Master of Arts in Arts Management at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and at the Open University of London. The full paper can be downloaded below.

The financial crisis had a meaningful impact on cultural and creative industries all over the world. As a consequence of the crisis there is a crucial change in the governmental policies concerning the European cultural sector. The operations of many cultural organizations, such as theatre venues, depend deeply on the cultural policies that the government makes; hence theatre venues also experienced the effect of the changes. The critical alteration in the cultural policies of theatre venues meant a cut in their public funding that their local administration put into effect. Therefore, the focus point of the article is the artistic and financial reaction of theatre venues to the financial shortage in their subsidy. The article approaches both Dutch and British theatre fields and it includes a comparison of the Dutch and British theatre venues in respect of the artistic and financial strategies they chose to cope with the financial difficulties.  First of all, the article examines the impacts of the financial crisis in the artistic strategy of the two fields, namely, it indicates the extent of the artistic limitation. Furthermore, the reader will know how the two theatrical worlds give an artistic and financial response to the same problem, and how they treat it differently in their artistic and financial operation. Analyzing the British and the Dutch theatre fields at the same time leads to awareness of the changes that can be learned by the Dutch theatre venues from the British theatre venues. The article, which is based on the research findings, is conspicuous in four scopes: programming, collaboration, audience, and the connection with their municipality. The conclusion of the research and the main discussion of the article is that in the British theatre field the relationship with the audience and the local administration is significantly stronger than in the Dutch field. Furthermore, British theatre venues are more entrepreneurial, artistically and financially. For these reasons, the last section is an advisory report that has been made to the Dutch theatre venues which includes all the advice that the venues can use to learn from the coping strategies of theatre organizations in England. Thanks to the advisory report, they can develop their artistic and financial entrepreneurship. However, Dutch theatre venues have realized their situation in the changed theatrical field and recognized new opportunities. In doing so, Dutch theatre venues have started to apply some of the artistic and financial considerations that the British model already follows.
The full version of the article can be downloaded here.

Author/Source: Picture of London Globe by Commons Wikimedia
Management Topic: Financing & Sponsorship
Cultural Area: Theatre+Dance
Submitted by editor-in-chief on Aug 12, 2014