Leading theatre given £400,000 bailout

Hull Truck Theatre in Ferensway, Hull. Picture: Terry Carrott
Hull Truck Theatre in Ferensway, Hull. Picture: Terry Carrott
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ONE of the region’s best known theatres and a key part of Hull’s City of Culture 2017 programme has been given a £400,000 bailout.

Arts Council England, together with Hull Council, awarded the money to ensure “business continuity” at Hull Truck Theatre.

The company has needed help on top of annual grants, now totalling just under £800,000, since moving into its £15m home on Ferensway in 2009, including £1m in 2011, from the Arts Council, and £128,000 from the council last September. The latest grant has been given subject to operational and business plan changes, more commitment to community-based arts development and closer scrutiny by the council of its finances.

Artistic director Mark Babych, who took over the helm last May, said “historical underfunding” was behind its problems, adding: “There’s no doubt that the recession has been a key factor with theatres all over the country suffering in the same way.

“This is a national issue about rebalancing national spend away from metropolitan areas to areas where there is least engagement.”

Asked about the criticism that it is out of touch with its local audience, Mr Babych said they were “working towards being more relevant”.

Pete Massey, Acting Director North, Arts Council England said the grants were to ensure the theatre continues “to deliver at the high standards its audiences have come to expect.”