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Rose Theatre in profit after massive KU grant

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Students feel the University give too much to the Rose Theatre.

Teri Dyer

Kingston’s Rose Theatre is congratulating itself for turning a “profit” after receiving a truly staggering £880,000 grant from the University and the Council.

The theatre, which could not survive without large cash injections, is at the centre of a bitter row over receiving money from the cash-strapped University and Kingston Borough Council.

Kingston’s Pro Vice-Chancellor and Kingston Theatre Trust trustee Professor Martyn Jones said: “In the current economic climate it is true to say that theatres are facing a challenge and the Rose is no exception.

Working together

“However, working together has allowed the University to develop a deeper partnership with the community and the borough to the benefit of both staff and students.”

Kingston University is one of the theatre’s two key donors, along with Kingston Council, and contributes £300,000 a year to the theatre plus an extra contribution towards an in-house production.

Last year £80,000 was donated towards the production Lady of the Sea, starring actress Joely Richardson.

Financial figures for the year ending March 2012 showed a surplus of £23,357, with an income of £3.45m and an overall spend of £3.43m.

Theatre trust extremely grateful

“Kingston Theatre Trust is extremely grateful to the Royal Borough of Kingston and to Kingston University for the funding received,” the report said.

“These service agreements continue to provide sustainable funds in exchange for a wide range of benefits for local people, students and theatregoers,” it continued.

The University works closely with the theatre to provide a host of activities for Kingston students. This includes working with the University on the development of postgraduate modules, two music events per month put on by students and the theatre hosts all Kingston University graduation ceremonies.

Prof Jones called the Rose Theatre a “tremendous asset” to the University “which has built on the growing reputation of Kingston as a cultural and educational destination”.

Students feel it’s too much

However, students have questioned the ongoing commitment of investment into a theatre that is incapable of surviving without enormous annual cash injections.

A poll conducted by The River last year revealed that 60 per cent of students felt that £300,000 a year was too much to give to the theatre and nearly 10 per cent believed that the theatre should not receive any funding at all.

In April 2011, Kingston Council reduced the annual funding from £600,000 to £500,000 as part of £13m of budget cuts.

The theatre’s latest accounts show an improvement on the previous financial year, when the theatre recorded a loss of more than £32,000 after a difficult year.

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