The Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, has today released a special Christmas video featuring hundreds of supporters in its ongoing battle against crippling funding cuts proposed by the London Borough of Havering.
With Havering’s public consultation deadline looming on the 29th, theatre staff, audience members, the entire cast of the Christmas panto Sleeping Beauty, local schoolchildren, charities, groups and carollers have all come together in a heart-warming festive recording to say NO to plans to slash 40% from the treasured 61-year-old theatre’s annual grant.
Performers in this vibrant, colourful video deliver a humorous song sung to the tune of the seasonal carol, Twelve Days of Christmas. They remind viewers of the multitude of reasons the Queen’s is such a precious community resource.
These include: the Theatre’s top-standard in-house productions and five star reviews; the many local people employed there; the huge amount of local trade the Queen’s generates; special access shows; the wide variety of entertainment and educational opportunities for all age ranges, from infants to older people – from comedy and curry nights to baby sensory mornings; its touring shows to schools; youth theatre groups; the cosy Foyer cafe and many more!
As a registered charity, the Queen’s has depended on a wonderfully supportive relationship with the London Borough of Havering for the past 60 years. It also receives a grant from the Arts Council. But the theatre has to raise the remaining 75 per cent of its revenue – much higher than the national average – and has already made large budget cuts this year.
But Havering recently announced plans to slash £300,000 of its annual grant to the Theatre over the next two years – as part of the Council’s ongoing budget reduction proposals – with more cuts expected in subsequent years. If this goes ahead, much of the Queen’s hard work would be at risk of disappearing.
Queen’s Administrative Director Thom Stanbury said: “Hundreds of loyal supporters of the Queen’s took part in this wonderful video, which demonstrates just how dear to everyone’s hearts our Theatre is. This home-made recording is a humorous yet thought-provoking reflection of our fears for the Queen’s future and aims to show everyone just how much we all stand to lose – a true community hub of culture, entertainment, education and happiness.”
In its campaign against the cuts, the Queen’s also recently released several other recordings to publicise the Theatre’s work, including its professional repertory programme as well as its wide-reaching education and outreach arm, which works with 12,000 people of all ages each year.
Staff, actors, youth theatre members, local teachers and charities all speak about why the Queen’s Theatre is an invaluable cultural resource and entertainment centre for the whole community.
All Queen’s Theatre videos can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/queenstheatreh
The theatre is urging supporters of the Queen’s to take part in Havering’s public online consultation, at havering.gov.uk/Pages/Services/Haverings-budget.aspx, which closes on 29 December and to write to their MP and ward councillors. The consultation invites the public to voice their opinions with regard to the council’s ongoing budget reduction proposals. The final decision will be made early next year.