Theatre APPG

All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Theatre

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Theatre was founded in July 2019 to support the resilience and relevance of theatre in the UK for audiences, its workforce and society. 

Following the General Election, the Group met on 14 January for an Inaugural Meeting. The group was officially registered again on 16 January 2020. 

The APPG’s Statement of Purpose is to:

  • Support the resilience and relevance of theatre in the UK for audiences, society and the industry
  • Identify and debate potential opportunities and issues for theatre in the UK
  • Support parliamentarians' understanding of theatre and the performing arts industry at a national and local level

Theatre is part of the creative industries, which are the fastest growing part of the UK’s economy, contributing over £101 billion in Gross Value Added. In 2018, the theatre industry saw audiences of over 34m with ticket revenue of nearly £1.28bn, from a total of 62,945 performances across the UK. 

The cross-party group is led by Giles Watling, Conservative MP for Clacton, 

UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre (SOLT) are the secretariat of the APPG for Theatre, providing organisational, staff time and strategic support. They will also bring together a group of theatre organisations from across the UK to act as a sounding board and help ensure that a wide range of theatre topics and issues are suggested for the APPG to look into.

If you are a member and would like to write to your MP and let them know about the APPG and see if they are interested in becoming involved, we have drafted a letter template for you to use. 

APPG for Theatre Launch

Scroll through the image gallery above to see a selection of photos from the APPG for Theatre launch event in October 2019, or view the full gallery here.

Please note that this is not an official webpage of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed on this webpage are those of the group.      


APPG for Theatre Chair: 

 Giles Watling MP

giles watling.jpg
APPG logo





Chair & Registered Contact

Giles Watling MP


Vice Chair 

Vice Chair

Matt Western MP

Baroness Hamwee


Liberal democrat

Vice Chair

Stephen Metcalfe MP


Vice Chair

Lord Kerslake


Vice Chair

Vice Chair

Vice Chair

Vice Chair

Andrew Lewer MP

Baroness Whitaker

Tracy Brabin MP

Nickie Aiken MP





You can now sign-up to hear about the work of the Theatre APPG.

All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament. They are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, though many choose to involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities.

To find out more about how they work, please visit the UK Parliament Website.

On Wednesday 16 October 2019, the APPG for Theatre had its official launch in the Houses of Parliament. To see some of the tweets from the day, take a look at this Twitter Moment. You can read more about the day from this news story. Co-Chairs Tracy Brabin MP and Giles Watling MP have also penned a feature for The Stage about the APPG.

View the full gallery of images from the launch. (Photos: Pamela Raith Photography)

Lord Kerslake, Giles Watling MP, Helen Whately - Ex Arts Minister
APPG for Theatre members will take part in visits to theatres. These visits, organised by the APPG, will be in order to help educate, explain and explore the issues related to the APPG's current work / sessions.

The APPG for Theatre holds regular meetings to discuss priorities and to hear from expert speakers. A list of meetings is below. Please click on a meeting to download the minutes/agenda. If you would like to attend a meeting please email 


Films from the session  

COVID & the performing arts - update  Julian Bird, Chief Executive, UK Theatre & Society of London Theatre
Comprehensive Spending Review  David Ward and Neil Darlison, Arts Council England
Brexit and Dance Farooq Chaudhary, Producer Akram Khan Company
Brexit and Theatre Leonora Thomson, Interim Artistic Director, Barbican 
Classical Music - Touring after Brexit & COVID  Kathryn McDowell, London Symphony Orchestra

  • APPG for Theatre, Impact of COVID on theatre & the EGM - 16 July 2020 - AgendaMinutes  

Films from the session 

What we asked of government + what still needed from SOLT /UKT perspective Julian Bird, Chief Executive UK Theatre & SOLT
 Freelancers and early career  Mumba Dodwell, Freelance theatre director, actor and founder of The Diversity School Initiative
 Organisation view Julia Potts, Business Director (UK Venues), Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG)
 Disability / We Shall Not Be Removed campaign Robert Softley-Gale, Artistic Director, Birds of Paradise Theatre company
 Embedding anti-racism action within the industry  Amanda Huxtable, Artistic Director & CEO, Eclipse


The Secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Theatre is provided by the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre. Please contact our Advocacy Manager Hannah for more information on the APPG.

Do follow us on Twitter: We will also use hashtag #TheatreAPPG.

COVID-19 - Letter to the Chancellor (October 2020)

COVID-19 - Open letter to the PM (June 2020)

COVID-19 - 25 March 2020

UK Theatre and SOLT, plus all the Co-Chairs of the APPG wrote a letter to Rt Hon Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State  for DCMS to express our concern at the impact of Covid-19 on theatres and the wider performing arts sector.

So that we can get a range of views, ideas and input from across the UK theatre sector, we asked a number of people to be a sounding board to the Theatre APPG. They have been chosen to represent, as much as is possible (with still being manageable) the makeup of the UK theatre sector. 

So for instance, there is representation from: the subsidised and commercial; from Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales; from freelancer and organisation; from small to large; touring, producer, venue etc. 

We aim to review this list yearly. If you are interested in being on this, do let us know. 

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"UK Theatre" is the operating name of UK Theatre Association, a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, whose registered office is at 32 Rose Street, London, WC2E 9ET, Company No 323204.