Queen’s Theatre director speaks out after council proposes grants review of much-loved creative venue

The Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch.

The Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. - Credit: Archant

Grants to the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch will be reviewed as part of a Havering Council bid to save money if plans for next year’s budget are approved.

The Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch.

The Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. - Credit: Archant

The executive director of the community theatre in Billet Lane has said that he is hoping to see “ambition” and “innovation” in the discussions that the theatre will be having with Havering Council in the coming months.

The theatre currently receives a number of grants from the council, but pays no rent for the council owned premises.

This could change following a review.

According to the council the review will redefine the relationship itself and the theatre and “strengthen the support arrangements for schools and the wider community.”

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Central government funding to Havering has reduced by more than £29m since 2014/15 and the council is expecting a further loss of £7m over the next two years.

Other proposed cost-cutting ideas include closing public toilets, switching off street lights, merging libraries and childrens centres together, and increasing business rates of charity shops by 20 per cent.

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The proposal is part of a consulation where the council is asking residents for their views on how it can save money over the next four years.

Mathew Russell, Executive Director at the Queen’s Theatre said: “As suggested in the cabinet paper, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurchis looking forward to productive and imaginative discussions with London Borough of Havering colleagues about continuing to redefine this key, longstanding and successful relationship which we’re very proud of.

“For the theatre, there are exciting and transformational opportunities ahead around our plans for the iconic building; ever growing programme of wide ranging work for existing and new audiences and rapidly expanding and vitally impactful relationships with local communities.

“We’ll be hoping to see ambition and innovation reflected in all of our discussions.”

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