After being part of the Bristol arts scene for nearly two decades, Theatre Bristol has announced that it will be closing with immediate effect. It follows the demonstration last week by arts organisations over the city council delaying grant funding.
Announcing the move on social media, directors of Theatre Bristol confirmed the closure after 18 years of operation. They said: “In this time, the organisation has supported countless artists and freelance creatives.
“Following the news in November 2022 that Theatre Bristol will no longer be part of Arts Council England’s national portfolio, along with recent decisions made by Bristol City Council to delay funding decision, the Board and staff have worked tirelessly to find other business models and viable funding routes to sustain the organisation’s valuable work.
“However, the current cultural landscape and uncertainty around core funding has led to the decision that the organisation can no longer continue.” The directors thanked staff for being “outstandingly resilient in this turbulent time".
Theatre Bristol was started in 2005. It is a limited company by guarantee with not-for-profit in its Articles of Association. This meant it could not apply for funding through the majority of trusts and foundations.
Last Thursday (July 6, 2023) saw arts and creative organisations from across the city holding a demonstration over Bristol City Council’s delay in funding. This follows an email sent out to organisations which said funding would only be confirmed in March 2024.
The organisations delivered an open letter to city hall, saying this 'shock decision' by the mayor could lead to loss of work, income and closures in the interim period. Performing arts and entertainment trade union, Equity described the lack of funding will have 'hugely damaging consequences' for the city.
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A statement from the mayor’s office said that the Cultural Investment Programme process is being redesigned, which resulted in funds being withheld while this work is being completed. The mayor’s spokesperson said: “”We have continued to fund culture organisations and rolled over last year’s funding to ensure there were no gaps.”