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Nottingham Playhouse and Nottingham Contemporary among organisations facing cuts from next year amid council efforts to reduce spending.

Exterior of Nottingham Playhouse, 2017
Nottingham Playhouse is one of five cultural venues in the city currently receiving council funding

bazzadarambler via Flickr

Nottingham City Council is proposing cutting its entire cultural budget from next year as part of efforts to plug a £50m deficit.

A report due to be considered by the council's Executive next Tuesday (19 December) outlines an array of cost-cutting measures including "ceasing contributions to the cultural sector" to save £198,000.

That funding is split between five Nottingham based organisations, all members of Arts Council England's National Portfolio for 2023-26: Nottingham Contemporary; Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature; City Arts; and New Art Exchange.


The organisations were already contending with a reduction in the amount of money they received from the council for the current financial year (2023/24) which is 15% down on the £232,000 they were allocated in 2022/23.

The council's proposals also include generating an additional £95,000 a year by "maximising income opportunities" at the city's Theatre Royal and Concert Hall.

Last month Nottingham City Council issued a section 114 notice on 29 November temporarily halting most new spending it is not obliged by law to provide.

Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive of Nottingham Playhouse, said the cuts came as “a disappointment - but not a total surprise”, stressing that she understood the  “difficult situation” facing Nottingham City Council.

“It's not entirely of their own making by any stretch,” she said, “But if all the revenue grants are cut, it only saves them 0.4% of the gap they've got to bridge. And statutory services will be further stretched if we can't do all the things we do.

“What's troubling is that the whole Nottingham cultural sector works with refugees, with people with special educational needs, with people at risk of homelessness or drug addiction. We're working with care leavers; we're working with looked after children, older people, people with dementia.

“It’s not just about ‘give us more money to make plays’.

“Part of the problem we have is that Nottingham City Council's investment in culture, has been more modest than other core cities. So when you've made things work with what we perceive as quite a modest amount of investment, it is particularly disappointing that a 100% cut is proposed.

“Nottingham's a really small city, but it massively punches above its weight in terms of the cultural offer.

“I don't think Nottingham is making these proposals because it doesn't value culture. I think it's making these proposals because it's in a very, very difficult position. And we'd like to work to resolve that without cutting this funding.”

Museum cuts

The planned cuts also include a reduction in museum conservation service resources saving an estimated £9,000 in 2024/25.

According to the proposals, Nottingham’s museum service is currently undergoing a Delivery Model Assessment to look at alternative models that can “minimise reliance upon contributions from the council", with savings that are as yet unknown.

Meanwhile, several companies currently listed on the city’s Register of Outside Bodies are to be moved to a separate register of companies in which the council has a financial shareholder interest for decisions regarding future governance approach, including appointment of company directors. These include City of Nottingham Historic Buildings Lt and Creative Quarter Nottingham Ltd.

A headshot of Mary Stone