HC Deb 07 March 1988 vol 129 cc14-5
53. Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

To ask the Minister for the Arts whether he plans to visit the Redgrave theatre, Farnham.

Mr. Luce

I enjoyed my visit to the Redgrave theatre on 27 February this year and I am very impressed by the way that the theatre is run.

Mrs. Bottomley

My right hon. Friend's visit to the Farnham theatre was greatly appreciated. Is he aware that it is the most active repertory theatre in the country and was open 359 days last year and gave 419 performances? Is he aware that for the second time running it has won an award for new sponsors? What steps is he taking to draw to the attention of other regional arts organisations the example set by the Farnham theatre, particularly in responding to his business incentive scheme?

Mr. Luce

My hon. Friend is right. The Redgrave theatre is a model. It raised 67 per cent. of all its resources from the private sector, largely through the box office, but also through sponsorship. There is a true partnership there between the public and the private sectors. My hon. Friend is right to say that it is the most prolific in productivity of all the repertory theatres in Britain and that it has received business sponsorship incentive scheme awards over the last two or three years. It is a very fine model for other theatres.