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Basingstoke venues campaign against 50% cuts

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ANVIL Arts has ramped up the #ReverseTheCut campaign, propelling images on its venues and releasing an impact report to make the case for protecting and supporting Basingstoke’s venues, following a council decision to cut annual investment by at least 50 per cent.

Bold #ReverseTheCut campaign messages and images were projected overnight last Wednesday from The Haymarket and Anvil and a petition to reverse the cut was launched by independent organisation Public Campaign for the Arts.

Anvil Arts’ campaign calling on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to reverse the ‘at least’ 50 per cent funding cut announced last month took centre stage in the town centre last week, with large campaign slogan #ReverseTheCut projections beamed at the windows of the organisation’s two venues.

Anvil Arts filmed the projections and shared them live on their Facebook page, encouraging people to watch them from home and so avoid crowds gathering outside. Alongside the projections, the organisation has also released the report setting out the compelling reasons for protecting and supporting arts and entertainment in Basingstoke and reversing the cut.

The report features three key sections: The cultural opportunities for Basingstoke post-Covid – for which Anvil Arts will play a key role, the impact of Anvil Arts on the town and borough over the last 27 years and the detrimental impact the council’s proposed investment cut to Anvil Arts will have on their entertainment offering and community education programme

Matthew Cleaver, chief executive of The Anvil Trust – the independent charity that runs Anvil Arts – said: “Our fantastic venues mean that we are able to offer a rich and diverse arts and entertainment programme, enabling Basingstoke to punch above its weight and compete with larger towns and cities.”

Their community education programme engages with 35,000 people every year, including in schools, care homes and vulnerable communities.

“The relationship with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and its continued investment over the last 26 years has been key to enabling this. We understand the financial challenges that Covid-19 has brought, but we are concerned this sudden drastic cut is a shortsighted approach that will have far longer-term repercussions for the town, its businesses and communities.

“Our cultural offering is absolutely fundamental to Basingstoke’s image, reputation and economic recovery. We owe it to the people that live, work or visit Basingstoke to do everything in our power to get this cut reversed. We continue to call on the council to reverse this cut and enter into a proper dialogue with us, so that we can agree a solution that works for everyone.”

The #ReverseTheCut campaign has received widespread support since Anvil Arts was forced to launch it after the council’s decision at their cabinet meeting in March, including independent organisation Public Campaign for the Arts.

Many West Berkshire theatregoers have enjoyed professional dance, theatre, pantomime and music performances at The Anvil, The Haymarket and The Forge, and many are members of amateur societies that put their shows on there. www.anvilarts.org.uk

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