Statement: Safeguarding the future of The Dukes

Statement: Safeguarding the future of The Dukes

As you may have heard, on Friday The Dukes announced that we are planning a new business model with a revised staffing structure which will secure a sustainable financial future. We would like to reassure our audiences, partners and supporters that we are continuing with all current activity in the Spring Summer Season.

In common with many other theatres and cultural organisations up and down the country, The Dukes has seen reductions in its core subsidy and as operated in a challenging economic environment.

Despite this In recent years we have made strong progress in reducing our reliance on government and local authority funding, going from a contribution of 66% in 2006/07 down to 24% in 2017/18, meaning that 76% of our funds are now ‘earned income.’ We have also seen increases in our audiences over the past 10 years with a 71% increase in cinema and 27% increase in theatre attendance, showing that there is a significant demand from local audiences for the diverse programme we offer.

However the increase in income and through fundraising is not enough to support the current operating model. The new business plan will address this and will regrettably lead to a number of posts becoming redundant. We will be entering into consultation with those staff potentially affected and cannot give details until this is completed.

You may also know that Ivan Wadeson is moving on from the role of Chief Executive for pastures new at the beginning of February, and we are delighted to be welcoming Victoria Firth, who has just finished a successful period of 8 years at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield as Interim Chief Executive.

We are, as always, grateful for the support of the large numbers of people who continue to advocate for us and support us in many different ways. The best way to help at this time is to come and see a show, cinema screening, have a coffee or a sandwich in our cafe bar, sign up to become a supporter or make a donation – every time you do this, no matter the size of your contribution, you’re helping to support The Dukes continue to survive and thrive in Lancaster.