Theatre travails

IF the consequences were not, potentially, so serious, the handling of the austerity cuts could provide a rich seam of material for a pantomime script. "Oh yes we can," say government ministers. "Oh no you can't," retort the coalition's opponents.

Such a stage farce may also help increase attendances at Hull Truck Theatre. Even though it recently moved into a new, publicly-funded 15m venue, it, like other provincial theatres, is having to come to terms with a subsidy cut. After its Arts Council funding was reduced by 40,000, Hull councillors have reduced their contribution by 100,000.

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Some perspective is required. This is a city with above-average deprivation levels and a council that is not receiving, for various reasons, an adequate financial return on the KC Stadium that it built. Nevertheless, Hull's flagship theatre is still receiving subsidies worth 800,000 a year.

Given this support, the real pantomime villains may not be the funding bodies – but the theatre's management for being unable to make the most of the opportunities provided by a brand-new city centre venue.