SAVE OUR SHAKESPEARE! Councillors issue SOS to government

PHOTO: Mark Williamson/Stratford Herald

Stratford councillors have sent a letter to the government demanding that urgent action be taken to protect the future of theatre and the Shakespeare tourism industry in the area.

The open letter has been sent to Oliver Dowden MP, Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, and it is signed by all Stratford-upon-Avon councillors.

Explaining that the local economy is under threat the councillors say: “Shakespeare’s voice and words, worth over £500million to the local economy, are estimated to bring in seven million visitors annually and supports over nine thousand jobs in the area.”

Speaking about the threat to the RSC, the letter continues: “As the elected county, district and town councillors representing the residents of Stratford-upon -Avon, we are deeply concerned that the future viability of this ‘world beating’ iconic theatre is now at risk. We are also concerned about the future of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.”

The letter goes on to press for protection of the arts and that “positive proposals will shortly come forward”.

See more on this story in this Thursday’s Herald when we look at the local live arts scene and the devastating impact of the coronavirus lockdown.

  • 1jamessmith1

    Why?? Let the tourism businesses go to the wall. SDC only care about tourists that do not provide year round sustainable jobs. Give the town back to the locals, hopefully then every thing will get cheaper instead of relying on gouging tourists and locals stupid enough to pay. To many businesses are driven out by crazy high business rates. We don’t need ecer more Hotels and places to eat/ drink. It would be nice to be able to buy a movie locally from HMV/ Music junction at a sencible price. It would be better to have credable jobs such as those once offered by Stratford Canners or N.C. Joseph and others. In no way will low wage low skill jobs be profitable to SDC and the local community. Who knows…with out tourists parking in the town could be cheaper too

    • AM

      As a local who lives in Stratford all I can say is you are spot on. The SDC are just flipping the bird to us. We don’t want more tourists stop abusing your powers, Stratford is not your very own cash cow!

  • KJ

    ‘Will’s Kitchen is part of a £1.2million regeneration of Henley Street involving the Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust and Stratford District Council and partly funded through a £462,000 grant from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise.’ – Stratford Herald, 7th June 2019

    The Birthplace Trust also had a grant of £50,000 for work at New Place in 2016.

    ‘The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon, the British Motor Museum in Gaydon and Compton Verney are to get funding as part of the Arts Council England’s National Portfolio for the first time. SBT and the British Motor Museum will each get £880,000 over the next four years.. The funding runs from 2018 to 2022.’
    – Stratford Herald, 2017

    So how does the Birthplace Trust manage to a get a £900,000 helping hand to keep them going while 90% of their staff are still on furlough because of the virus, and meanwhile local businesses are doing their very best to open up?
    The Birthplace Trust have a multimillion pound property portfolio, millions in the bank, and unless Shakespeare falls out of favour post-virus, they will never fail to make money.