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Tax relief encouraging regional theatre touring productions launched by Chancellor

Chancellor visited Theatre Royal in Brighton to launch theatre tax relief as new productions announced.

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Theatre curtain

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt. Hon. George Osborne MP, today (29 August 2014) visited the Theatre Royal in Brighton to launch the new theatre tax relief coming into effect on 1 September 2014.

His visit comes as English Touring Theatre, in partnership with Theatre Royal Brighton Productions, announces the new touring production of Tom Stoppard’s ‘Arcadia’.

A play exploring the relationship between the past and present, this will be the first major tour of the UK since the National Theatre tour. This has been made possible by the introduction of the new tax relief and will be one of the first productions to benefit.

Visiting the Theatre Royal, the Chancellor met with members of the touring theatre community to discuss the tax relief and its benefits to the industry.

He also met with the cast and crew of ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ which opened in Manchester earlier this year, and has been touring the UK extensively. It opened at the Theatre Royal on 26 August.

Produced by the Ambassador Theatre Group, parent company of the Theatre Royal Brighton, who are predicting an increase in new productions as a direct result of the tax relief.

The musical opened on 26 August at the Theatre Royal and is being produced by the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), the parent company of Brighton Theatre Productions which is anticipating an increased amount of new work as a direct result of the new tax relief.

The theatre tax relief is expected to benefit around 250 production companies a year helping support plays, musicals, opera, ballet, dance and circus productions.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said:

As part of the government’s long term economic plan, we are backing business and supporting enterprise.

The UK’s theatres make a valuable contribution to our economy and are home to some of the most innovative companies producing exciting and ground breaking new productions.

I want to make sure our theatres continue to thrive and the tax relief I have introduced reinforces the government’s support for this important industry.

We have successfully introduced tax reliefs to support the creative sectors, such as film, high-end TV, animation and video games.

This shows how targeted support can make a real difference in promoting British culture and the way the UK is viewed internationally and we are building on this with the new theatre tax relief.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid, said:

This is great news. The performing arts are a British success story. They delight audiences, provide jobs and boost the economy.

These tax changes will help spread this success around the country by making it easier for great productions to tour, for the benefit of everybody.

Julian Bird, Chief Executive of Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre Association:

The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre Association welcomes the introduction of the tax relief for theatre production from 1 September, and believes that it will provide real help and support to theatres and companies across the country, and help in maintaining the UK’s pre-eminence in theatre globally.

Independent theatre producer, Rupert Gavin, said:

Theatre and live performance is a creative sector where the UK leads the world. Despite this, it remains risky and underfunded, especially in the regions.

Building on the well-established film tax relief, that has proven so successful for British film industry, the new theatre relief will provide vital and much needed stimulus to new productions, primarily that are developed outside London, that will keep us as a world leader.

Tom Stoppard, playwright of Arcadia, said:

I’m delighted that a new tour of Arcadia, directed by the young, visionary Blanche McIntrye, is to take place next year reaching audiences across the whole of the UK.

The current challenges for regional theatre in the UK mean that a production of this scale and quality are very rarely toured.

I welcome the news that a new tour of Arcadia is to be one of the very first to take advantage of the new funding incentives for touring live performance which has directly helped realise the ambitious vision of this tour.

Rachel Tackley, Director of English Touring Theatre and President of UK Theatre, said:

The health of our creative industry relies on modest but sustained investment and the introduction of tax relief for theatre couldn’t be more welcome.

Not only does this put us on a level playing field with film and animation, but it will undoubtedly lead to a significant increase in the production and distribution of new work.

The return on this significant investment will be seen not just in the box office income generated each year or the VAT returned to the government, not just the knock-on financial benefit generated by hundreds of car parks, restaurants and hotels around the county, not just the tourism that our theatre attracts, but also in the contribution to the health, happiness and spiritual well-being of our communities.

Announced at Autumn Statement 2013, the relief will provide an additional corporation tax deduction, or a payable tax credit, worth up to 25% of qualifying expenditure for touring productions and 20% for all other productions.

The UK theatre sector is a key attraction for tourism, with visiting tourists spending at least £856 million a year on arts and culture.

Image by John Thurm on Flickr. Used under creative commons.

Published 29 August 2014