Contractor could run Newport's Riverfront Theatre

SAVINGS REVIEW: Newport's Riverfront Theatre

CASH CUTS: A fashion show at the Riverfront theatre which attracted more than 90,000 people last year

First published in News
Last updated

NEWPORT council’s Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre could be outsourced under proposals set to be scrutinised by city councillors.

A scrutiny committee will next week look at setting out a review into a so-called new delivery model for the venue.

Options on the cards include outsourcing the theatre to one or more organisations, or running it in a management partnership.

Newport council is hoping to save £300,000 by March 2017 through the changes – a similar figure to how much the council subsidised the centre in the last financial year.

The Riverfront Theatre opened in October 2004.

“The key proposal to be reviewed is to move to [an] alternative delivery model for the Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre service in order to save £300,000," a report to scrutiny says.

“Options could include delivery by outsourcing to, or a management partnership with, one or more organisations.”

Councillors on the learning, caring, leisure and scrutiny committee could decide to investigate as a committee, or form a smaller group to look at the matter, when they meet on Wednesday.

According to the scrutiny report the Riverfront earned a surplus of £315,508 in 2013/14 but had costs of £626,261, meaning that without a council subsidy of £310,753 it would have made a loss.

Some 90,135 attendees used the Riverfront in 2013/14, and its estimated that a further 20,000 use the cafe.

The Arts Council of Wales' original £8.5 million grant for the venue required the council to provide and operate a theatre of contemporary arts and provide a professionally led educational resource.

Meanwhile the same scrutiny committee meeting is also set to look at holding a review of Newport’s library services.

Newport council has to provide a library service by law, but is also planning to cut £278,000 from its budget by "rationalising and modernising" its delivery of library services by 2017.

The council has already acknowledged that the changes would have an impact on the level of service and the number of staff employed.

A note from a senior council officer to the committee says that to meet the reduction a “new model of service delivery” will need to be implemented.

Although the committee will make recommendations, the final decision on both matters would not be up to them but senior councillors in the Labour-run cabinet.

Comments (12)

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8:13am Fri 13 Jun 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

By their continued massed assault on the arts centres and libraries the establishment seem to be trying to kick down the ladders by which genuinely productive people might climb up and develop the means to empower themselves and let their talent shine. Their end game is to make all education vocationally focused purely to serve corporate interests. In its desire to capture and cage the arts, the ideological inclinations of capitalist corporatism seem to share similar control freak characteristics with other regimes such as Soviet Communism and reactionary fascism. They don't like the arts and humanities as such courses encourage students to think for themselves, recognise how propaganda can manipulate, question mainstream values, think outside the box and explore alternative philosophies of being. Regimes realise they can order as many water cannon as they like, but they'll never find a weapon powerful enough to kill an idea.
By their continued massed assault on the arts centres and libraries the establishment seem to be trying to kick down the ladders by which genuinely productive people might climb up and develop the means to empower themselves and let their talent shine. Their end game is to make all education vocationally focused purely to serve corporate interests. In its desire to capture and cage the arts, the ideological inclinations of capitalist corporatism seem to share similar control freak characteristics with other regimes such as Soviet Communism and reactionary fascism. They don't like the arts and humanities as such courses encourage students to think for themselves, recognise how propaganda can manipulate, question mainstream values, think outside the box and explore alternative philosophies of being. Regimes realise they can order as many water cannon as they like, but they'll never find a weapon powerful enough to kill an idea. Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: -2

9:52am Fri 13 Jun 14

Good Job No Kids says...

What a pompous piece of work you are Katie.

Why should the vast majority who have no interest in it assist in funding it? I'd much sooner have half a dozen extra nurses employed than prop up an unsustainable vanity project.
What a pompous piece of work you are Katie. Why should the vast majority who have no interest in it assist in funding it? I'd much sooner have half a dozen extra nurses employed than prop up an unsustainable vanity project. Good Job No Kids
  • Score: -8

10:53am Fri 13 Jun 14

displayed says...

A scrutiny committee will next week look at setting out a review into a so-called new delivery model for the venue"
That's the trouble with these committees, there too scrutinous!
A scrutiny committee will next week look at setting out a review into a so-called new delivery model for the venue" That's the trouble with these committees, there too scrutinous! displayed
  • Score: -7

11:29am Fri 13 Jun 14

sooty001 says...

In other words " flog it ".
In other words " flog it ". sooty001
  • Score: -2

12:45pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

Good Job No Kids wrote:
What a pompous piece of work you are Katie.

Why should the vast majority who have no interest in it assist in funding it? I'd much sooner have half a dozen extra nurses employed than prop up an unsustainable vanity project.
No doubt employed by a privatised NHS on minimum wage, zero hour contracts...?;) Ah, the maverick capitalists who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. No wonder they have such an inferiority complex when it comes to the truly cultured: I mean it must be difficult an' all, all that money, yet still no class, eh?
[quote][p][bold]Good Job No Kids[/bold] wrote: What a pompous piece of work you are Katie. Why should the vast majority who have no interest in it assist in funding it? I'd much sooner have half a dozen extra nurses employed than prop up an unsustainable vanity project.[/p][/quote]No doubt employed by a privatised NHS on minimum wage, zero hour contracts...?;) Ah, the maverick capitalists who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. No wonder they have such an inferiority complex when it comes to the truly cultured: I mean it must be difficult an' all, all that money, yet still no class, eh? Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 8

12:48pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Martyn Butler says...

I am amazed the Riverfront has survived this long, Subsidy's keep it going but is it any small wonder?

The Riverfront Theatre is probably the only theatre in the world where the architects and current operators seem to think you dont have to tell people WHATS ON?

EVERY OTHER THEATRE has a Readograph - A Huge Sign somewhere these days often LED and animated saying Whats On Tonight - This Week - Coming Soon
With the exception of the panto poster/banner strung up for up to 6 months at the time even if you pass buy on the bus 4 times a day I defy anyone visiting the city centre to tell me what's on tonight.

That big blue glass panel could be retrofitted with a LED display - the expenditure would be quickly repaid by bums on seats.

SORT IT OUT #reNEWPORT
I am amazed the Riverfront has survived this long, Subsidy's keep it going but is it any small wonder? The Riverfront Theatre is probably the only theatre in the world where the architects and current operators seem to think you dont have to tell people WHATS ON? EVERY OTHER THEATRE has a Readograph - A Huge Sign somewhere these days often LED and animated saying Whats On Tonight - This Week - Coming Soon With the exception of the panto poster/banner strung up for up to 6 months at the time even if you pass buy on the bus 4 times a day I defy anyone visiting the city centre to tell me what's on tonight. That big blue glass panel could be retrofitted with a LED display - the expenditure would be quickly repaid by bums on seats. SORT IT OUT #reNEWPORT Martyn Butler
  • Score: 11

5:38pm Fri 13 Jun 14

GogExile says...

I agree with Martyn. Advertising seems to only consist of the notice board outside the theatre and one in John Frost Square. I'm amazed there's not a visual display outside the train station. I'm sure a bit of cozying up to Admiral could result in something. Perhaps it is time for more professional venue promoters to have a go.
I agree with Martyn. Advertising seems to only consist of the notice board outside the theatre and one in John Frost Square. I'm amazed there's not a visual display outside the train station. I'm sure a bit of cozying up to Admiral could result in something. Perhaps it is time for more professional venue promoters to have a go. GogExile
  • Score: 3

8:31pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Newport Sometimes says...

Good Job No Kids wrote:
What a pompous piece of work you are Katie.

Why should the vast majority who have no interest in it assist in funding it? I'd much sooner have half a dozen extra nurses employed than prop up an unsustainable vanity project.
Do you work for Newport council? They seem to share your views on all things cultural or to do with heritage etc..
[quote][p][bold]Good Job No Kids[/bold] wrote: What a pompous piece of work you are Katie. Why should the vast majority who have no interest in it assist in funding it? I'd much sooner have half a dozen extra nurses employed than prop up an unsustainable vanity project.[/p][/quote]Do you work for Newport council? They seem to share your views on all things cultural or to do with heritage etc.. Newport Sometimes
  • Score: 0

2:11pm Sat 14 Jun 14

Llanmartinangel says...

Good Job No Kids wrote:
What a pompous piece of work you are Katie.

Why should the vast majority who have no interest in it assist in funding it? I'd much sooner have half a dozen extra nurses employed than prop up an unsustainable vanity project.
That's what happens with the Welsh Language though. The vast majority have no interest in that either and yet a bottomless pit of money seems available for it. Perhaps if the theatre only performed 'Welsh' stuff to empty houses the WAG would bail it out.
[quote][p][bold]Good Job No Kids[/bold] wrote: What a pompous piece of work you are Katie. Why should the vast majority who have no interest in it assist in funding it? I'd much sooner have half a dozen extra nurses employed than prop up an unsustainable vanity project.[/p][/quote]That's what happens with the Welsh Language though. The vast majority have no interest in that either and yet a bottomless pit of money seems available for it. Perhaps if the theatre only performed 'Welsh' stuff to empty houses the WAG would bail it out. Llanmartinangel
  • Score: 4

4:48pm Sat 14 Jun 14

altom23 says...

Llanmartinangel what took you so long to make your comment on this subject and bring in a dig as usual about the language and the WAG. One thing we can always count on you for off topic comments!
Llanmartinangel what took you so long to make your comment on this subject and bring in a dig as usual about the language and the WAG. One thing we can always count on you for off topic comments! altom23
  • Score: -5

8:24pm Sat 14 Jun 14

jazzyjab says...

The Riverfront is a little gem, take the point about advertising, but with online access being pretty much universal, it's hardly a chore to look it up is it. I have been to many events here and each one has been fab, its also v reasonable. Generally, I think that councils need to fundamentally rethink how they deliver services, what's statutory and what isn't. Someome from cardiff said to me the other day that not many places can boast, yes boast, a medieval castle and a river, with a great riverside walk. And hes right, we need to appreciate what we have, and more to the point support it and whoever is running it.
The Riverfront is a little gem, take the point about advertising, but with online access being pretty much universal, it's hardly a chore to look it up is it. I have been to many events here and each one has been fab, its also v reasonable. Generally, I think that councils need to fundamentally rethink how they deliver services, what's statutory and what isn't. Someome from cardiff said to me the other day that not many places can boast, yes boast, a medieval castle and a river, with a great riverside walk. And hes right, we need to appreciate what we have, and more to the point support it and whoever is running it. jazzyjab
  • Score: 3

11:08pm Sat 14 Jun 14

Stevenboy says...

altom23 wrote:
Llanmartinangel what took you so long to make your comment on this subject and bring in a dig as usual about the language and the WAG. One thing we can always count on you for off topic comments!
It's not 'off topic' though is it. It's WAG who seem to decide who's 'culture' gets funded. The issue is surely that both the Riverfront and an archaic language are treated disproportionately despite being of interest only to small minorities. One gets £billions the other can go to the wall. Can't you figure why that might appear unfair to some?
[quote][p][bold]altom23[/bold] wrote: Llanmartinangel what took you so long to make your comment on this subject and bring in a dig as usual about the language and the WAG. One thing we can always count on you for off topic comments![/p][/quote]It's not 'off topic' though is it. It's WAG who seem to decide who's 'culture' gets funded. The issue is surely that both the Riverfront and an archaic language are treated disproportionately despite being of interest only to small minorities. One gets £billions the other can go to the wall. Can't you figure why that might appear unfair to some? Stevenboy
  • Score: 4

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