belgrade theatre annual report 2014 2015

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A review of the year 2014 - 2015 from the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.


  • Belgrade Theatre Review of the Year 2014/2015

  • Looking back over the past

    year fills me with immense

    pride as well as great

    memories of the fantastic

    productions weve created to share with the world. Its never an easy task putting

    together a programme of shows which appeal to the

    tastes of so many people, but thats what the Belgrade does so well.

    From rarely performed classics like The Spanish

    Golden Age productions, to brand new musicals such

    as Propaganda Swing, revivals of local stories in

    Three Minute Heroes or more diverse shows like

    Blood the consistent theme has always been quality and a unique offering. The same goes for the family

    offering with another record breaking pantomime and

    a wonderfully engaging Only A Day. I struggle to pick

    a favourite; each one is so rewarding to watch in its

    own right.

    Our Visiting Company work complements our own

    plays, meaning that our Seasons are diverse and fresh,

    designed to broaden and appeal to the many different

    audiences in the City and region.

    Its not just our bold programme of work that defines us, but also the valuable projects the Community &

    Education Company do. Being able to offer

    productions like Bassett, numerous participation

    opportunities and the TiE production Becoming Me

    has been an achievement in light of funding cuts, but is

    what helps make a Belgrade that belongs to everyone,

    creates inspiring theatre and transforms lives.

    Being able to continue to offer such a vibrant

    programme in these challenging times is no mean feat.

    It has only been possible through the hard work of our

    talented staff and the success of our income generating

    activities making us less reliant on public funding.

    Belgrade Production Services is an important part of

    this story and has benefitted from further investment

    this year, and will continue to be an important income

    source for the Theatre.

    The Belgrades challenges lie hand in hand with those faced by the City, but we continue successfully to

    contribute towards their goals for Community and

    Economic development and look forward to playing a

    pivotal role in bidding for City of Culture in 2021.

    The Belgrade is a much loved creative hub for the area

    and our TiE 50th anniversary celebrations throughout

    2015 will be another reason to be proud. With the

    continued support of the Theatres many stakeholders Im confident we will continue to overcome the challenges ahead.

    Stewart Fergusson


    A Belgrade that belongs to everyone; creates inspiring theatre and transforms lives





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    Board Members:

    Mr S Fergusson, Chairman Cllr R Bailey Mr A Bhabra Cllr L Bigham Mr G Brooke-Taylor Mr J Davidson Mr P A W Deeley

    Mr P Fenner ACA/FCCA Mr W H Glen LLB Mrs P Johnstone Mr J McGuigan Mr A Pollock Ms K J Reid BA Hons Mrs D Williams

    Belgrade Theatre Trust (Coventry) Limited (A company limited by guarantee)

    Company Secretary and Executive Director : Ms K J Reid BA Hons Chief Executive and Artistic Director: Mr W H Glen LLB Funding Body Representatives entitled to attend Board meetings: Arts Council England West Midlands - Ms Nikki Ralston (Relationship Manager, Theatre), Coventry City Council - Mr D Cockcroft (Assistant Director, City Centre & Development Services)

    Charity registered number 219163 Company registered number 593331

    Registered office:

    Belgrade Theatre Belgrade Square Coventry West Midlands CV1 1GS

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    The Belgrade Theatre's vision: To be one of the most dynamic producing houses in the country. Mission: Our role is to provide a comprehensive performing arts service of the highest possible quality for Coventry and the surrounding regions and to act as an ambassador for Coventry & The West Midlands when touring.

    I am proud of our artistic achievements

    in 2014/15, delivered despite a third year

    when the general funding cuts

    significantly hit the Theatre. In terms of

    home produced plays, it has been our

    busiest year yet. Our first productions of

    the financial year were co-produced with

    Bath Theatre Royal and Arcola Theatre

    London: the Spanish Golden Age plays A




    REVENGE. The Autumn then opened

    with our co-production with

    Nottingham Playhouse of the World

    premiere of PROPAGANDA SWING by

    Peter Arnott, a true story of the survival

    of Jazz in Nazi Germany, which I

    directed, and the revival of THREE

    MINUTE HEROES by Bob Eaton.

    Our always popular pantomime was

    ALADDIN in addition to our alternative Christmas show OH NO IT ISNT. We expanded our focus on work for children

    and young people by producing the UK

    premiere of ONLY A DAY, that

    complemented two NT Connections

    shows: Senior Youth Theatres PRO-NOUN and Acting Outs BASSETT; and Year 10 Acting Outs ME, MYSELF AND MY iPHONE. During Summer 2014 the

    Theatre again toured extracts of the

    forthcoming seasons work to unusual venues in Coventry and Warwickshire

    with UNPLUGGED. At the other end of

    the year our produced programme was

    completed by a co-production of a new

    South Asian play BLOOD by Emteaz

    Hussain with national touring company


    We have been delighted to develop our

    in association with partnerships supporting smaller companies and

    non-traditional theatre presentations.

    These included CHORALE with

    Presence Theatre and Actors Touring

    Company, 100 YEARS WAR with

    Midland Creative Projects, THE

    MARRIAGE OF FIGARO with OperaUp-


    with Highly Sprung and SANTAS DIZZY DAY with Imagine Theatre. The Theatre

    also produced The Belgrade MELA.

    Catalyst Funding, a grant awarded by

    Arts Council England to boost fund

    raising ability, helped establish Asian

    Youth Theatre; the 50th Anniversary

    celebrations of Theatre in Education

    (TiE) Inspiring Curiosity; stage the NEW BLACK SHOWCASE,

    rehearsed readings of work by

    young BAME writers from our

    CRITICAL MASS programme; tour

    UNPLUGGED; and take a recording

    of Panto to Hospitals, Hospices and

    Nursing Homes, as well as offer tickets

    for families facing financial hardship at

    Christmas through Give the Gift of Theatre.

    We believe that we have succeeded in

    our aim to be one of the most dynamic

    producing houses in the country, with a

    bold artistic policy that the region both

    embraces and deserves, and which puts

    us in a pivotal position for Coventrys bid for the next City of Culture. These are

    exciting, but challenging times for us, but

    with a strong, creative and loyal team of

    staff continually championing the work

    we do we are confident that we are

    equipped not just to survive, but to


    Hamish Glen

    Artistic Director & Chief Executive

  • 2014/15 was the final year of the

    Theatres first three year contract as an Arts Council National

    Portfolio Organisation (NPO).

    The Theatre exceeded agreed

    KPIs despite another difficult year

    of declining core funding and

    continuing low public confidence

    which affects ticket sales.

    Belgrade productions



    performed very well at Box

    Office, and our Panto once again

    exceeded previous Box Office

    records. Some of the Visiting

    Company work, particularly early

    in 2015, also did very good


    The Theatre produced 18 own

    productions during the year, the

    highest ever, and combined with

    our lively Visiting Company

    programme presented 421

    performances of 113 different

    productions. The number of

    different productions in the

    seasons is a record but

    performance numbers were

    slightly down on the previous

    years 434, but are still higher than all previous years. We had

    the biggest audiences ever for our

    Panto (over 42,000) but total

    audiences for the year at 151,000

    were 8% down on last year,

    reflecting continuing audience risk

    aversion. Audience numbers are

    still greater than all previous


    The final 10% cut from CCC hit

    this year, taking the total cut to

    25% and Arts Council NPO

    funding, following in-period cuts,

    was reduced. However sharing

    costs through co-productions and

    our continuing drive to increase

    earned income from all sources

    has enabled us again to improve

    Earned Income to Turnover ratio

    which is now 62% (up from 50%

    in 2009/10).

    The Theatres wholly owned trading subsidiary Enterprises turnover this year nearly made it

    to 1million (904k), making a