Riverside Studios in Hammersmith have just lost all of their Arts Council funding, worth nearly £500,000, as a result of government cuts. Other west and south-west London venues to have lost their funding or had bids refused are the Waterman’s in Hounslow, the Orange Tree in Richmond, the Battersea Arts Centre in Wandsworth and the Rose Theatre in Kingston.
There were always going to be (a few) winners and (many) losers after the government cut the Arts Council budget by nearly a third but is hard to see why Mayor Boris has let the council give this part of London such a kicking...assuming he tried to stop them.
As Stephen Unwin, artistic director of the Rose Theatre in Kingston, says, "The funding situation in south-west London is now worse than ever and the contrast with east London – especially the Olympic Boroughs – is stark. It’s clear that a large part of the Mayor of London’s cultural strategy has been ignored.”
Across the country, a quarter of theatres, galleries and orchestras have lost all their funding. The arts are good for the soul and good for the economy. Tory politicians are bad for both.