Edinburgh concert hall plans scuppered by legal challenge

03 Feb 2020

Delays and cost overruns to the £45m project are likely as it downsizes to avoid a long and expensive legal battle.

Groundlings joins list of 30 UK theatres 'at risk'

03 Feb 2020

Groundlings Theatre in Portsmouth has been added to the Theatres Trust's Risk Register following a devastating burglary.

The trust's annual list highlights 30 theatres at risk of closure, demolition or "irreversible changes". Of this year's list, 24 theatres are in England, three are in Wales, and three in Scotland.

Bradford's Odeon and the Peterborough New Theatre have been removed from the list after following new investment and the appointment of experienced professional operators.

Grade II-listed Groundlings Theatre is the only new addition. The theatre was badly damaged in a break-in last year and remains in a financially vulnerable position.

The Theatres at Risk Register can be found here.

Glasgow to host year-long Canadian culture programme

03 Feb 2020

A year-long programme of Canadian culture has been launched in Glasgow.

Sarah Fountain Smith, Deputy High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, announced the celebration on 30 January, saying it will "provide a platform for Canadian artists and performers to reach new audiences here in Scotland". She plans to meet MPs and the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce to discuss areas for enhanced collaboration between Canada and Scotland.

Canadian acts will be folded into other festival programmes and marked with a red maple leaf in online guides so audiences can identify them. 

Eight-month-long libraries strike ends

31 Jan 2020

An eight-month-long strike by library workers has ended with their employer agreeing to many of their demands.

Bromley libraries' staff will get pay arrears, a new salary and staffing structure, and won't be forced to take redundancies, Unite union announced on Thursday.

Unite Regional Officer Onay Kasab said workers made "a magnificent stand in defence of the library service."

READ MORE: Libraries threatened by incorporation into leisure facilities

"This has been one of the longest all out, indefinite strikes of recent times and serves as an example to workers across the country preparing to fight the latest onslaught of council cuts ... . We have come away with an agreement which protects jobs and ensures that our members are paid what they are owed."

The libraries' owner, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), said the agreement means it can now "start the process of restructuring to modernise the library offer" across 14 boroughs.

ABRSM 'kicked out of China'

30 Jan 2020

The music exam board’s inability to operate freely in one of its biggest markets may become problematic as domestic exam numbers decline.

Tate to pay Head of Coffee more than curators

30 Jan 2020

Tate has defended a job advert that offers a Head of Coffee a higher salary than most curators.

The £39,500 salary is more than the average London-based curator's pay of £37,300 but the gallery said "a more accurate comparison would be a curatorial team leader", whose wages range from £40,000 to £50,000.

Alan Leighton, National Secretary of trade body Prospect, told the Guardian that heritage-specific workers were paid “appallingly”, considering there would be no galleries or museums without them: "It’s time that was recognised and those roles rewarded accordingly."

Not worth the effort? Contenders drop out of UK City of Culture race

30 Jan 2020

Two of seven cities that expressed interest in the title for 2025 have decided not to bid, and a third is reconsidering its stance. Is it a big city’s game?

Scotland's most visited art gallery could close

30 Jan 2020

Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art could be closed in a bid to help save £50m in council spending.

Glasgow City Council has proposed moving the gallery's collection, which includes Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup prints, to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and selling its city centre building.

Other significant cuts to Glasgow's cultural sector have also been proposed: "re-provisioning" services at St Mungo's Museum of Religious Life and Art and Provand's Lordship and the closure of several historic libraries is also on the table.

Councillors in a cross-party budget group will consider the options and present their budgets on February 20.

Change ticket resale practice or face court, StubHub warned

29 Jan 2020

Ticket resaler StubHub has been warned to make changes to its website or potentially end up in court.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says it is concerned that the company uses misleading messages about ticket availability, doesn't make sure people know where they will sit in a venue, and has failed to adequately warn people that their tickets may not get them into an event.

CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said it is demanding "swift action to resolve these problems and are pleased that StubHub has said it will make changes in response".

"StubHub had previously committed to make important changes to the information on its site, so anyone buying a ticket would know what they were getting before parting with their money. It’s therefore unacceptable that we have now found these concerns.

"We will closely monitor the firm’s efforts and, if it does not quickly implement changes that satisfy us, we will take further action - potentially through the courts."

New partnership to support Midlands dancers

29 Jan 2020

A new partnership will provide training and treatments for dancers in the Midlands.

DANCE CLINIC will work with Birmingham's DanceXchange to provide professional screenings, injury prevention strategies and career development.

About 40 dance students have already been screened for posture, balance and exisiting injuries as the scheme launches.

£4.5m to reopen troubled Welsh art centre

29 Jan 2020

Plans for £4.5m works to reopen a troubled arts centre in Wales have been announced.

Awen Cultural Trust want to retain and enhance the Gothic architecture of the Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd. The main hall area will be refurbished with new seating and a stage area, with dressing rooms nearby.

The centre has been closed twice in the last four years. These plans are the outcome of talks between the trust and local authorities since June.


Swansea theatre to become cultural hub

28 Jan 2020

Swansea's historic Grand Theatre will become a cultural and digital hub for diverse communities.

Race Council Cymru, the country’s lead umbrella body for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, will begin upgrading the 123-year-old building's Arts Wing later this month, and a diverse art programme will be delivered from next year.

About 20 community groups, including the African Community Centre, the Chinese in Wales Association, and the Swansea Women’s Asylum Seeker & Refugee Support Group, have been leading consultation on the project.

Massive boost to grassroots music as venues' business rates are slashed

28 Jan 2020

Trade organisations are celebrating the Government's decision to cut business rates for small and medium-sized grassroots music venues by 50%.

The announcement, which tallies with a pledge in the Conservative Party's election manifesto, will save 230 venues an average of £7500 each per year, totalling about £1.7m.

Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd called it "another foundation stone" in support for grassroots music but said it was time for recording, streaming and publishing interests to "play their part".

"Billions of pounds in revenue are being generated in the music industry from the music that is tested, developed, finds its audience and emerges from these vital spaces."

Kelly Wood of the Musicians' Union said the body was "pleased to see the Government finally respond to the needs of the grassroot music venues". Further lobbying is still needed to protect venues from closure, Wood said.


What makes an ‘arts-rich’ school?

27 Jan 2020

Two West Yorkshire schools decided to put the arts at the heart of their curriculum. They found different challenges – but had similar successes.

Can libraries deliver culture for all? ACE’s new strategy unveiled

A photo of a man dressed as a First World War Soldier
27 Jan 2020

Children, young people and libraries are central to the funder’s ambitions to enable everyone to benefit from creative and cultural opportunities.

Programme to diversify libraries' leadership

27 Jan 2020

A new scheme aims to "help library services better reflect their communities" and transform their leadership.

Libraries Connected has appointed Birmingham Leadership Institute to deliver the programme in 15 libraries, hoping to benefit those teams as well as the sector as a whole.

Arts Council England's new strategy notes a desire to better fund and use libraries as arts spaces.

Mags Patten, Executive Director of Communication and Public Policy, said the council is "committed to supporting cultural leaders to flourish by addressing issues such as diversity in leadership, opportunities for emerging and early career leaders, and the development of executive skills at senior levels."

Creators alarmed by Government’s U-turn on copyright laws

27 Jan 2020

On the eve of Brexit, musicians and authors are calling for equivalent legislation to safeguard their intellectual property rights.

Belfast Grand Opera House restoration begins

27 Jan 2020

A £12.2m project to restore Belfast's Grand Opera House is under way.

The 10-month-long upgrade to the 1895 auditorium and other public parts of the building is the first restoration in 40 years.

A permanent exhibition exploring the theatre's 125-year history will be installed following the works.


Neurodiversity guide for creative industries launched

24 Jan 2020

A buddy system could help neurodiverse employees integrate into the workplace, a leading music company says.

Universal Music UK has published a guide to embracing neurodiversity in the creative industries that provides companies with "practical solutions" to creating a more accessible workplace. It addresses areas like recruitment, mentorship, career progression, and neurodiversity awareness education for all employees.

Universal UK's Chairman and CEO David Joseph said the company created the handbook when it couldn't find one to suit its needs.

"Our overall conclusion is that making your organisation ND-friendly is to the benefit of your entire workforce. Everyone should feel comfortable in bringing their whole selves to work."

Scottish Drama Training Network 'integrated' into conservatoire

24 Jan 2020

The Scottish Drama Training Network (SDTN) will "formally integrate" into the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's portfolio.

A statement jointly released by the educators says the absorption of the training network "will ensure the continuation of its highly regarded programme" and placement opportunities for students. SDTN is already based on the conservatoire's campus.

SDTN Director Lucy Vaughan will step down at the end of this month.


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