The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) appears determined to withdraw all its £300,000 2012/13 budget for funding The Broadway performing arts venue in East London (see AP245), a decision that is likely to force the theatre’s Trust to wind up prior to it becoming an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation in April. Staff have been given notice that they are at risk of redundancy. The Council’s decision completely disregards local support for the Broadway’s professional and community programme, which was submitted to the Council’s cabinet in December. It is all the more perplexing in the light of the Council’s decision to co-commission, together with Barking and Dagenham College, an arts consultant to “prepare a robust options appraisal for the future operation of the Broadway Theatre”. The College has an agreement with the Council that it will be housed in a working theatre, and LBBD has made it clear that it wants the venue to remain open, partly to open up pathways into the cultural industries for the college’s students by providing them with a professional and commercial theatrical environment. The terms of reference of the consultancy indicate that a sum of £180,000 will be made available for the future running of the venue, but this has not been offered to the Broadway Theatre Trust, and the short timescale for the withdrawal of the Trust’s 2012/13 grant will effectively preclude it from operating the venue beyond April. The venue’s management is in ongoing dialogue with LBBD in an effort to extend the timescale and create the opportunity for a managed transition to a new operating model. In its response to public comments, the Council said: “We know this additional reduction in the subsidy will be a severe challenge to the theatre as it currently operates, but we cannot go on as we are – a sustainable business model is needed. At present, local community organisations cannot afford the prices to access the building. We are committed to keeping the venue open and finding ways to present a varied programme of professional community and performing arts which allow local people to access high quality work at prices they can afford.”