Dramatic cutbacks for city theatre

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Concerns have been raised over the future of Chichester Festival Theatre's community work because its funding is set to be cut.

Funding cuts from West Sussex County Council could see the theatre receive less than a third of the funding it was given four years ago.

And it could face a double blow with reduced funding from the Arts Council.

Alan Finch, the theatre's executive director, said: 'Arts Council England has announced 6.9 per cent cuts nationally, and the proposed county council cut is much deeper than the 20 per cent we had anticipated.

'We will need to consider the impact the proposed cuts would have.

'The success of the theatre's operating model in recent years is directly attributable to the subsidies that enable artistic risk-taking, and an expanding regional education outreach programme.

'During 2010, we will have attracted more than 313,000 people to our shows, provided more than 37,000 young people with engagement in arts-based learning opportunities and contributed significantly to the local economy.

'We would need to review our plans for 2011 and discuss the implications with all our funding partners. The proposed cut is a serious concern for our ongoing work.'

As part of its 75m funding cuts, West Sussex County Council is planning a 63 per cent cut in pubic subsidy for the theatre. A final decision has yet to be taken.