Savings ordered at Halifax theatre

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SAVINGS must to be made at a Victorian theatre in Calderdale, a council report has warned.

Halifax’s Victoria Theatre, which has been a flagship cultural venue in Calderdale since 1901, is currently experiencing declining attendance and income, according to the report which will be considered by members of Calderdale Council’s Communities Scrutiny Panel on Thursday.

The theatre has experienced a net reduction in council funding of £265,000 in the last three years, in addition to savings made before 2010/11.

The report says: “The reductions in budget have had an impact on service delivery despite efforts to secure investment and manage the pressure through actions such as the ticket levy.

“As a consequence the venue is currently experiencing declining attendance and income.

“The council has explored the possibility of making savings by operating an alternative delivery model but this has not progressed and savings will need to be delivered via a different route.”

The report warns that while “very significant inroads” have been made since 2007/08 to deliver the budget savings required by the council, the measures taken “are placing serious strain on every aspect of the service delivery and staff morale”.

The projected 2013/14 out turn is a budget over run of £138,000, which is based on the venue “saving” about £100,000 or 90 per cent of the programming budget.

But, warns the report, without making the saving in the programming budget the budget over run could be £238,000.

It says that “a decision to invest in a growth strategy probably has the greatest potential to further reduce the venue’s subsidy and has the added benefit of generating potentially significant economic activity and vibrancy in the wider economy”.

Calderdale Council bought the venue in the early 1960s and converted it to a concert hall and theatre. It stages about 130 professional and 40 community performances per year.