Steve Brine meets Live Theatre Winchester!
Steve Brine met up with the Chief Executive of Live Theatre Winchester Trust, Deryck Newland, this week where they spoke about the trust’s current projects and future plans.
Deryck Newland said: “After a year in post as Chief Executive of Live Theatre Winchester Trust (which incorporates Theatre Royal Winchester and Hat Fair) it was great to finally meet our local MP, Steve Brine. He is, as of three weeks ago, also my own local MP as I have now moved into the District.
“Steve was very interested to hear about Live Theatre Winchester Trust’s (LTWT) progress to date since my arrival last March and the emerging plans for the future.
“We particularly talked about the recent news coverage about the organisation being back in the black financially and its development plans. This news came from a presentation I made to the Town Forum, Winchester City Council’s City Centre Councillors’ group. Of course it is great news, but what wasn’t reported was how much this improvement in the fortunes of the charity was reliant on the committed support of both Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council working in strategic partnership with us to get the organisation onto a stable footing.
“As a charity we remain absolutely dependent on the investment of both local authorities and while we are becoming more resilient all we have done to date is resolve the acute and immediate challenge; in short, we have just got back to zero!
“It is now incumbent upon us, with the ongoing support of our local authority and local business partners, to try and build a small financial reserve in the years ahead so we can look after our listed building and continue to sustain and develop our activities. These include offering young people and older people opportunities to participate in performance, delivering a free outdoor arts festival, supporting local organisations to perform on a professional stage and providing the public with a diverse and lively professional arts programme.
Steve Brine said: “The Theatre Royal is part of the fabric of Winchester and its longevity is testament to the fact we want a working theatre here in the city. New leadership in Deryck Newland as well as a renewed desire to reach out beyond its traditional comfort zone are essential if it’s to stay relevant and serve all communities.
It’s good news that the theatre is back in the black after some tough years but it will need continued support, from the public and both councils, if it is to realise its potential in this new environment.”
Deryck Newland added: “Our development plans for the building and the wider organisation are exciting too. They are still very much in the embryonic planning stage and will, of course, require us to raise additional funds to successfully deliver them. However, having the support of our local MP for these plans is a tremendous start.
It was great to hear that Steve finds time to come to the Theatre and brings his family too. It is fantastic to have a local MP who understands the value of arts and culture to a community and to creating a desirable place to live and work in. We are committed to encouraging everyone from the area to enjoy the buzz of live performance. There is nothing quite like it!”