From Plymouth to Sydney: Invest in Theatres to Create Jobs and Boost Exports

Theatre Royal Plymouth – TRP2 Exterior, Home to the scenic build workshop which produced the set for the Sydney Opera House production of Sunset Boulevard – Image by Steve Haywood

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) & UK Theatre have today published the results of a survey demonstrating the urgent need for sustainable and systematic investment in theatre buildings. Theatre Royal Plymouth (TRP), one of 65 theatre venues to respond to our survey, needs £30 million to ensure the growth, sustainability and inclusivity of its business model. This investment would enable TRP to expand its globally recognised Production and Learning Centre, TR2, which is home to a scenic build workshop, costume department and rehearsal space.

The turnover of the workshop has grown from £534,000 in 2014 to 2.4 million in 2024 and the centre needs to expand to accommodate the demands of UK and international producers. The £30 million investment in TRP would contribute to the construction of a fourth manufacturing pod at TRP2 to deliver scenic design and construction projects that contribute to the UK’s world leading reputation in the performing arts.

Currently the centre is forced to turn away high profile and financially lucrative UK and international projects due to the lack of physical space available at TRP2. As the theatre’s funding from Arts Council England and local government reduces, reliance on this income stream is paramount to maintain the financial viability of the theatre, as well as the significant contribution to UK creative industries.

Investing in TRP2 would create much needed training opportunities in craft skills such as carpentry, welding and costume making, which are currently in short supply. The scenic build workshop team at TR2 produce sets for a wide range of productions from small scale community shows to major international musical and opera projects. The workshop recently created a set for Sunset Boulevard at the Sydney Opera House and is currently building a set for Il Trovatore Houston Opera in the United States. 

Learn more about the investment needs of Theatre Royal Plymouth and other UK theatres and performing arts venues.

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