the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

5 March 2010

BECTU is working with its members and with administrator to do all possible to secure the survival of Exeter's Northcott Theatre.

Begbies Traynor was appointed as administrator during the past week.

The theatre has been carrying a deficit since it reopened after refurbishment less than two years ago; the decision by creditors to call in a loan forced the operation into administration.

Willy Donaghy, supervisory official for the Arts and Entertainment division, is visiting the theatre today, Friday, (his second visit this week) to assess the situation and to provide support.

"Whilst the situation is very worrying for all concerned, there is no doubting the commitment on all sides to the long-term survival of the theatre," commented Willy Donaghy.

Whilst the administrator investigates the options for finding a new company to run the venue, staff have been assured that the theatre will complete its current season, which ends in April, and that salaries will be paid until that time.

The long-established producing theatre on the University of Exeter site employs close to 60 people. It is a vital community asset and the only theatre in the Devon town.

BECTU has had a branch at the theatre for decades; members there have punched above their weight in terms of their contribution to the union's standing in the arts sector, and particularly in the field of training.

Maurice Marshall, former chief electrician at the Northcott was honoured with an MBE for his contribution to theatre training in 2009.

As the theatre's future is considered, Jonathan Dimbley is preparing to host  Any Questions About the Arts? at the Northcott on Monday 29 March.