…They all have All-Party Parliamentary Groups to support them.
But what is an APPG? There are around 700 of them, one of which is now for Theatre.
An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is an informal cross-party group that has no official status within Parliament (they can either be by subject, like ours, or by country). They are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords. It is common for them to ask a specialist group or organisation who understand the issues from outside Parliament to be the secretariat. So we are delighted that UK Theatre and SOLT are doing exactly this.
It has been a long time coming. We first had the idea to set up an APPG for Theatre almost three years ago with Will Quince MP for Colchester as the Chair. The plan was buffeted by elections, Brexit and Ministerial changes, so now we’ve made it. At the helm are Giles Watling, Conservative MP for Clacton, and Tracy Brabin, Labour MP for Batley and Spen – both former professional actors with experience of the theatre industry.
If you have some time, go and get your proper geek on and find out more about how APPGs work and see what other groups there are.
It is fantastic that this APPG has been created, and UK Theatre and SOLT hope that it serves to highlight the need for Government support to ensure the continued resilience of the industry and ensure the sector’s voice is heard.
The Theatre APPG’s Statement of Purpose is:
- To support the resilience and relevance of theatre in the UK for audiences, society and the industry;
- To identify and debate potential opportunities and issues for theatre in the UK;
- To support parliamentarians' understanding of theatre and the performing arts industry at a national and local level.
Using UK Theatre’s member survey results, the Theatre and Touring Symposium feedback and understanding current issues for the sector, the Chairs have agreed that in the first year, the areas the APPG will investigate are the theatre workforce, funding and income generation. The launch is in October and we will have our first two evidence sessions in December.
So how can you help make this a success?
Support us by sending this letter to your MP to let them know about the new APPG and asking them if they are interested in being a member. It might also be that you are invited to give evidence, or if you have a keen interest in public affairs and policy, you could sit on our steering group made up of other theatre bodies such as the ITC, FST & Theatres Trust.
We have set up a dedicated Theatre APPG webpage to keep people informed and we will be using the hashtag #TheatreAPPG.
Please get involved.
Date Published: 05 September 2019