Cen­tre­point chases new spon­sor­ship

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

Lotto! Pro­ceeds from the twice­weekly lot­tery help fund a range of com­mu­nity en­deav­ours, in­clud­ing the arts.

With news that the lack of high multi-mil­lion dol­lar jack­pots has im­pacted on Lotto sales, arts or­gan­i­sa­tions around the coun­try, in­clud­ing the city’s Cen­tre­point Theatre have been told to ex­pect fund­ing cuts.

Ac­cord­ing to CNZ’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Stephen Wain­right, 2015/16 rev­enue from the Lot­ter­ies Grants Board has de­clined to $26.31 mil­lion, from a forecast $30 mil­lion.

‘‘Cre­ative NZ are sig­nalling a 10 per cent re­duc­tion in arts fund­ing,’’ says the theatre’s artis­tic di­rec­tor, Jeff Kings­ford-Brown.

‘‘And for Cen­tre­point, it’s cer­tainly se­ri­ous.’’

In 2014 the coun­try’s only pro­vin­cial pro­fes­sional theatre faced a three-year cu­mu­la­tive loss of $85,000 due to a re­vamped Cre­ative NZ fund­ing for­mula.

For the last three years, Cre­ative NZ has of­fered to match the theatre’s spon­sor­ship and fundrais­ing ef­forts dol­lar for dol­lar to $5000, and recog­nises that the new aus­ter­ity be­ing sig­nalled will put the theatre in a dif­fi­cult po­si­tion.

‘‘Cre­ative NZ are try­ing to help us and have of­fered to match new fund­ing from what­ever source up to $15,000. So, if we man­aged to get $15,000, we’d end up with $30,000, which would make a huge dif­fer­ence to us.’’

Jeff says he un­der­stands the predica­ment Cre­ative NZ is in, and that the prov­inces are not a high fund­ing pri­or­ity, but he’s re­main­ing pos­i­tive, and thank­ful for the high level of busi­ness and com­mu­nity sup­port the theatre re­ceives.

‘‘We can’t sit here qui­etly and slowly fade into obliv­ion.’’

Theatre ad­min­is­tra­tion man­ager Julie Barnes says Cen­tre­point’s cur­rent fund­ing of $410,000 is still a sub­stan­tial grant.

‘‘Any­one work­ing in the arts knows it’s im­pos­si­ble to op­er­ate with­out gov­ern­ment fund­ing. We’re for­tu­nate we have a three­year con­tract with the city coun­cil worth $45,000 a year, and we’re just putting in our ap­pli­ca­tion for an­other three more years.’’

While pulling its weight in terms of ticket sales, there was an un­der­stand­able re­luc­tance to put up seat prices.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/FAIRFAX NZ

Cen­tre­point Theatre’s artis­tic di­rec­tor, Jeff Kings­ford-Brown is brac­ing for fur­ther cuts in the theatre’s fund­ing.

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