Entertainment & Arts

Hull Truck theatre gets £250,000 rescue funds

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Media captionThe theatre will be a key venue during Hull's year as UK City of Culture

Hull's Truck theatre has been given an emergency grant of £250,000 by Arts Council England as it attempts to get out of financial trouble.

The payment, to cover the financial year 2014-15, means the theatre has received eight Arts Council bail-outs totalling more than £1.75m since 2011.

The theatre's accounts said the new funds would secure the operation of the theatre "for the foreseeable future".

The theatre has struggled since moving into a new £15m building in 2009.

Hull Truck became a national force in the 1970s before cementing its reputation under playwright John Godber, who was artistic director for 26 years until 2010.

It is due to be one of the main venues when Hull is UK City of Culture in 2017.

The grants have been made under the Arts Council's system of "financial intervention", which is for organisations at "immediate and serious financial risk".

'Success story'

The latest grant comes on top of the Truck's regular £540,680 annual Arts Council funding. The Arts Council will increase the venue's regular funding by £250,000 per year from April.

Hull Truck artistic director Mark Babych, who took over in 2013, said it needed that extra amount in 2013/14 in order to "steady the ship" and start preparing for 2017.

"The messages from previous cities of culture is you've got to start that work a lot earlier," he told BBC Look North.

"For years and years, this has been one of the worst funded theatres, and yet it's expected to be a flagship for the region, and that's what we want it to be. This money is about securing that future."

He pointed to successful recent productions of Cinderella and A Taste of Honey, and said the venue was also doing more community work.

"We've had this enormous success story over the last 12 months of getting our act together, and getting our artistic product [working] really well," he added.

The theatre's latest accounts showed it cut around 30 jobs and slashed other costs between 2013 and 2014, but said it is predicted to make a loss in the current financial year.

Michelle Dickson, Arts Council England's director of the north, said: "The Arts Council has awarded additional investment of £250,000 to Hull Truck - to support the theatre's increased stability and to consolidate the organisation's new business model.

"This investment will greatly enhance the theatre's resilience for the foreseeable future and will enable it to play a full role in Hull's UK City of Culture programme in 2017."

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