HC Deb 27 February 1989 vol 148 c16
60. Mr. Michael Marshall

To ask the Minister for the Arts what assessment the Office of Arts and Libraries has recently made of the health and well-being of live theatre in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Luce

Evidence from the public and private sectors shows that the theatre is in a healthy state. There are more than 600 venues in Great Britain, and about 350 separate drama companies. Attendance is around 50 million a year. The variety and quality of Britain's theatre make it the best in the world.

Mr. Marshall

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer; he knows that I fully support all that he has just said. Will he take this opportunity to reassure those who work in the theatre that he recognises now, as he has done in the past, the continuing role of Government through other Departments—the Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry—in encouraging private investment by so-called angels in future productions of the theatre?

Mr. Luce

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who plays a prominent role as adviser to the Society of West End Theatres. I have repeatedly made clear my—willingness past and future—to hear the society's views on the health of the theatre in the West End. I am certainly keen to follow up my hon. Friend's suggestion.