A councillor says changes to the way public money is given to a Lichfield theatre will ensure taxpayers are getting the best value for the funding provided.

The Lichfield Garrick

Lichfield District Council is hoping to reduce the amount handed over to the Lichfield Garrick from the current £250,000 a year to £75,000 by 2025.

It also intends to switch to a strategic partnership agreement which will use key performance indicators (KPI) to measure how the funding is used.

Cllr Dave Robertson, Labour member for Curborough ward, said he was pleased by the proposals being put forward.

Cllr Dave Robertson

“The change to a KPI system is a huge step in the right direction.

“This will allow us to – if necessary – have conversations with the Garrick about what we are getting for our money.

“There is a large amount of public money going into that organisation and that we should be able to measure exactly what we are getting for that.

“The approach employed by this administration is infinitely better than the one employed by the previous administration.

“I commend the cabinet for looking at the contract with the Lichfield Garrick.”

Cllr Dave Robertson, Lichfield District Council

Cllr Robertson said that while he was pleased to see tighter examination of the way taxpayer money is spent by the theatre, he did recognise the need to continue supporting the sector as a whole.

“It’s very important that public bodies, where they are able to do so, look at using public funds to support arts and the culture because we get so much from that sector of our economy.

“It’s a step in the right direction to make sure we are maintaining that subsidy at the appropriate levels.

“I also welcome the idea that we will go back to the Garrick and press them to make sure they are standing on their own two feet as much as possible.”

Cllr Dave Robertson, Lichfield District Council

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  1. Despite funds going to the Garrick from the public purse, local companies have gradually been priced out of this theatre, thus reducing the offer to local people. With funding from the District Council being cut further, this situation is unlikely to improve. How sad!

  2. LDC are simply “kicking the can down the road”. The Theatre has removed the am drams & am musicals, & considerably reduced both the number & variety of events. Whilst very few regional theatres make a genuine trading profit, there is no historical evidence without further reducing the Garrick’s events even further, that LDC will not be pouring in vast amounts of money in future. This subbing of Council Tax payers money has been going on every year since the place opened. Without some real creative flair in programming [no evidence of this in last few years] which will attract audiences – LDC will still be subbing money until the cows come home! Time to get the Theatre experts in, giving them a cut, which will be a lot cheaper than a straight sub. They can offer what will attract audiences, using their expertise & economy of scale in booking shows etc. It’s not rocket science.

  3. As a former member of LDC, I recall that in early 2019, the then-Cabinet Member for Leisure, Cllr David Leytham, assured the Scrutiny Committee that The Garrick would be self-financing in the very near future. I’ll just leave this here.

  4. Why doesn’t the ‘Theatre’ open its doors to local community projects with cheaper rental fees instead of bashing them with unrealistic costs, open forum meetings, conferences – they lost Lichfield Youth Operatic and it was such a loss…….In both Worcester and Kettering their theatres are used by blue chip companies all of the time for conferences and different activities…..Small minded and blinkered perspective by the CE just shows that she feels the only way to operate is by getting funding and from panto! time for a chance me thinks ……As much as the last chap (name escapes me) that ran the Garrick who pranced around like Danny la Rue and annoyed folk, at least he got things done!

  5. As much as the last chap (name escapes me) that ran the Garrick who pranced around like Danny la Rue and annoyed folk – was it Michael Fabricant?

    , at least he got things done! – Oh sorry, it wasn’t him.

  6. Worst vanity project that has befallen Lichfield a never ending money pit .
    No one would mind if the shows were remotely good or reasonably priced
    Close the dam thing.

  7. Close it or hand it over to a proper independent successful theatre / arts business. See if they can be tempted to make a success of it. There is a big enough local audience with disposable income who would be attracted to the theatre if the right balance of shows and productions were planned. It’s just a big stinky white elephant and has been for years. I’m annoyed we have to fund it all. How much money does Lichfield Rugby Club or Lichfield City FC or the Tennis club get from the council each year? Infinitely more popular leisure facilities that fund themselves. The Garrick spends too much on poor tribute bands and management salaries. Close it.

  8. I have to admit that I’ve never been a fan of the Garrick. The building looks like someone has gone mad with a Lego Technics set, and the range of shows has never attracted me.

  9. Lichfield is too lacking in facilities to allow the Garrick to fail. Many places have pride in their theaters and they are supported (and enjoyed) by the general population. As there is little opposition in this area it can only be failure of management policy that is causing the problems. Alienating local groups cannot help. They, at least, supplemented the many tribute bands which seems to fill the itinerary (at overpriced costs). I have had many mixed experiences there; some very memorable and others less so. The Pantomime is always well received. The old adage always holds good in business “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Get your product and pricing right and the sales will look after themselves.

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