SOLT & UK Theatre Launch Their ‘Thriving Theatres Plan’ At The APPG For Theatre AGM

Claire Walker, Co-CEO of Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, introduced her ‘Thriving Theatres’ plan at the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Theatre. The proposal includes 5 key priority focus areas for the Theatre Sector, including maintaining the Higher rate of Theatre Tax Relief. SOLT and UK Theatre are asking that Government extends this vital intervention alongside further initiatives to support theatres through these uncertain and challenging times.

This report comes against the backdrop of a crucial budget round ahead of 15 March, with theatres only just beginning to show green shoots of recovery post-pandemic.

Their key asks to Government ahead of the March 2023 budget are:

  1. Theatre Tax Relief – Maintaining the 50/45% Rate of Relief: delay the planned taper down to 35/30% rate by 3 years in order to enable growth in the sector in the face of high costs and a challenging economic downturn
  1. Theatre Tax Relief – Marketing Spend: include marketing spend in the qualifying costs of TTR to maintain global competitiveness to ensure parity with a similar scheme offered in New York, USA.
  1. 5% VAT Ticket Rate: reintroduce a 5% VAT rate on tickets to live performances and cultural attractions to stimulate greater demand.

These fiscal incentives to support growth in the sector sit alongside the organisations’ broader priorities for the year ahead, including promoting a green and sustainable theatre economy, supporting the theatre workforce, growing theatre audiences to deliver regional growth and supporting a thriving touring sector.

Claire Walker, co-CEO of Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre said,

“Commercial uncertainty caused by the stop-start nature of the pandemic and rising inflation have hampered the recovery of this £2.4bn sector, which supports 205,000 jobs around the country. Maintaining the higher rate of TTR, and allowing the inclusion of marketing spend, would drive economic, cultural and social growth in communities around the UK.

“Against a challenging economic backdrop, if the Chancellor were to commit to this hugely positive step of maintaining the higher rate of relief, theatre organisations will be empowered to create new productions for 2023 and beyond, in turn creating jobs, increasing foreign investment, stimulating further economic activity, and putting tax returns back into the exchequer. In light of the cost-of-living crisis, reducing VAT can ensure that theatres can help keep ticket prices down despite rising costs.

“The theatre sector is brimming full of creative ideas for new productions that will entertain, challenge and inspire audiences around the UK. The Chancellor has the opportunity to create the conditions that give theatre organisations the confidence and investment to create and innovate, enabling the sector to make a greater contribution to getting the UK back to growth as well as providing more wonderful experiences for millions.”

Giles Watling MP, Chair of the APPG for Theatre, said:

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to restart the APPG for Theatre with the Thriving Theatres Plan. The plan is a very helpful blueprint for theatres in the UK, and our international partners, to raise the profile and impact of theatre with Governments both here and abroad. I, and parliamentary colleagues on the APPG, look forward to working with the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre to deliver on their ambitions, specifically securing the higher rate of Theatre Tax Relief.

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