Two of West Suffolk’s largest entertainment venues in Bury St Edmunds are to explore working together to improve the quality of performing arts in the area.
The Theatre Royal, managed by Bury St Edmunds Theatre Management Ltd, and the Apex, run by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, are to share a senior management team for six months from January to see if collaborating can cut costs and maximise efficiency.
Theatre Royal director Karen Simpson and general manager Adrian Grady, and Nick Wells, head of programming at the Apex and director of the Bury St Edmunds festival will make up the shared management team.
The trial is intended to identify where better efficiency can be achieved and how these gains can be invested to develop the range of quality drama, music and entertainment on offer in both venues.
Stephen Bourne, chairman of the Board of the Theatre Royal, said: “I think everyone understands that arts organisations are under increasing financial pressure.
“Our Arts Council revenue stops from April 1 2015 and as a result we must look at all options to bring down our overheads so we can put the maximum amount of money into our productions.
“We have a good working relationship with the Apex team and we are both undertaking this step to achieve mutual benefit. The Theatre Royal’s Board fully supports this initiative.”
St Edmundsbury portfolio holder for leisure, culture and heritage Sarah Stamp said: “Everyone involved in planning and managing arts events and venues knows that finances are extremely challenging in the current climate and we have a responsibility to explore how we can best maintain our high standards whilst delivering best value for our taxpayers.
“Both the Apex and the Theatre Royal have strong track records of success and already provide an extremely varied programme of events, pulling in audiences from a wide area.
“With a growing population there will be more people looking for entertainment and therefore there are exciting opportunities to generate more income through increased box office receipts for both venues.”