Belgrade Theatre Annual Report 2017/18

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Belgrade Theatre Review of the Year 2017/2018

“The sheer, collective joy and pride that burst forth from everyone, shared live across nation, when we were announced the winners of City of Culture 2021, will stay in my mind for a long time to come”

CHAIRMAN’S LETTER In my sixth year as Chairman of the Belgrade’s Board of Directors, I can’t imagine asking for a better memory than seeing hundreds of people crammed into the Belgrade’s foyers awaiting the announcement live on BBC’s The One Show last December. The sheer, collective joy and pride that burst forth from everyone, shared live across nation, when we were announced the winners of City of Culture 2021, will stay in my mind for a long time to come.

The Belgrade prides itself in having an Atypical theatre going audience. It really is a theatre for the people. Outstanding productions like Pink Sari Revolution, Freeman and Reasons to be Cheerful are important parts of our programme, helping to expand the range of people discovering the joys of live theatre. Family productions have also gone from strength to strength and of course are helping us to develop our audiences of the future. Being a fully accessible theatre is another cause for celebration. Facilities continue to be improved and our first relaxed performance for panto, for those with learning disabilities or on the autistic spectrum, proved to be a huge success.

Coventry’s commitment to culture is clear and the Belgrade’s central position to that commitment cannot be underestimated. 2017/18 has been another exceptional year for the Theatre with another bold programme of produced and received work designed for, and succeeding in attracting, the truly diverse population it serves alongside playing a central part in securing the City of Culture win.

The Theatre continues to be a hub for talent development and it has been heart-warming to hear of our Springboard and In Association With companies go on to find both funding and successful tours all because of the support provided by the Belgrade. And finally the most important message of all is to express my gratitude to everyone who continues to support this incredible institution not least of all the hard-working, skilled staff who constantly give more than 100%.

Stewart Fergusson Chairman

“Hard-hitting, powerfully authentic drama”


The Stage on Pink Sari Revolution

The Belgrade Theatre's vision: Now established as one of England’s major producing houses, our mission is to grow the reach, excellence and engagement of all the work we produce and present. We will provide a comprehensive performing arts service of the highest possible quality for Coventry and the surrounding regions and act as an ambassador for Coventry and the West Midlands when touring.

FROM OUR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & CHIEF EXECUTIVE 2017 to 2018 was another busy year in which the Theatre produced, co-produced or supported 19 professional and professionally led pieces of work, including work from our Springboard and In Association With companies and artists, three of which went on to tour nationally. The Belgrade produced six of its own professional shows covering a broad range of interests, all of which were UK Premieres. The Musical Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin and Pink Sari Revolution spoke to black, Asian and minority ethnic audiences; Faithful Ruslan was a stirring piece of European style theatre and Godiva Rocks was a feelgood musical. Our ever popular Christmas shows included our pantomime Cinderella and our alternative Christmas show The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Sisters in B2. Our Community & Education shows included Rise and Tethered to the Light as part of All Our Tomorrows; a festival of work by young theatre makers, Truth or Dare, readings of two new plays from Critical Mass – The Merchant of Port Royal and #Adjustment, and Big School our Theatre in Education (TiE) show Room to Grow. Participants also performed in Against Prejudice: A

Celebration of Ira Aldridge at Shakespeare’s Globe. Our Springboard companies included Strictly Arts returning with Freeman and Noctium performing Hymns for Robots. Our In Association companies included Phizzical’s Bring on the Bollywood, Highly Sprung’s Fall Out, Forethought’s A Haunting and Graeae’s Reasons to be Cheerful. The broad range of visiting programmes included Russian State Ballet, A Judgement in Stone, Our House, The Sound of Music, The Play That Goes Wrong, Spamalot, Not Dead Enough, The Legend of Mike Smith, Rent, Shirley Valentine, Black Men Walking and a wide selection of family shows including Santa’s Mixed Up Martian, Fantastic Mr Fox, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Dinosaur World and Awful Auntie. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to you joining us in our journey to 2021 and our year as City of Culture. Hamish Glen Artistic Director & Chief Executive

“The capacity audience were on their feet at the end of the show, whistling and calling for more� The Travel Locker on Godiva Rocks

Mission: The Belgrade Theatre is the largest producing theatre in Coventry, England’s 11th most populous city and the second largest conurbation in the Midlands, and acts as the city and sub-region’s commercial and producing theatre. The Belgrade creates theatre in the belief that it can enrich its community and fundamentally change peoples’ lives for the better.

FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR We are proud to report that we continue on our upward trajectory of increasing earned income vs grants, reaching 73.4%. This enabled us to continue to offer a programme of high quality professional and community work, serving the City and Region, with less reliance on public funding, which continues to be under extreme pressure. We make a significant contribution to the Arts Council’s mission “Great Art and Culture for Everyone” and have secured Arts Council funding until the next round in 2022, by which point we will have completed our exciting year as City of Culture in 2021. Although we received a 4.6% cut in our core funding we managed to protect our turnover whereby it only dropped 1% to £5,875,106. Throughout the year we delivered 466 performances of 128 different productions attracting audiences of 196,854 to shows, events and conferences (159,213 to shows alone).

The Theatre’s trading subsidiary Belgrade Theatre Enterprises grew to £1.4m with a profit of £322,229 donated in full to the Theatre (a registered charity). Several strands now make major contributions – our commercial set building arm Belgrade Production Services, Catering and Events & Conferencing. Commercial Community & Education work is increasing its contribution. The current economic climate continues to be challenging which makes our achievements even more notable. In addition we continue to strive to be environmentally friendly making improvements on our carbon footprint each year. At the heart of the Theatre’s success are the hard-working staff, to whom we are very grateful.

Joanna Reid Executive Director

“A dazzling ensemble” The Guardian on Faithful Ruslan, The Story of a Guard Dog

“We see theatre as a key way to build personal, social and work skills; and to build a new and diverse generation of storytellers to provoke and inspire”

FROM COMMUNITY & EDUCATION Community & Education offers broad ranging participatory and performance opportunities to the city’s children and young people, wider communities and its emerging artists. Diversity is at the heart of all we do, ensuring that the Theatre is a resource for all the communities of the city. In 2017/18, we ran 18 regular workshop programmes, 12 for young people (2/3 targeted at young people from either BAME or socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds) and 6 for adults (5 targeting those suffering from loneliness or isolation). We were awarded Theatre of Sanctuary status in Autumn 2017. In Summer 2017, the All Our Tomorrows Festival brought together young theatre makers from across the country - including Phoenix Dance Academy North East, Bristol Old Vic, the best companies emerging from Coventry and Warwick Universities and our own Young Company & Senior Youth Theatre. The Young Company remounted Rise; whilst the Senior Youth Theatre wrote and co-directed Tethered to the Light. We also provided three performance opportunities – Unmade (National Maths & Science College); and Truth or Dare & Zero for the Young Dudes (LifeStage) whilst Black Youth Theatre performed in Against Prejudice: A Celebration of Ira Aldridge at London’s Globe Theatre. The Belgrade continues to offer a broad programme to schools, including its LifeStage programme for young people with complex

behavioural and social needs and its Big School programme supporting transition from Primary to Secondary. The Theatre’s Talent Development programme is expanding on an annual basis, with 2017 seeing a new 18 month placement for an emerging Producer of colour. In addition, our New Black Showcase shared the work of four new writers of colour; our partnership with Graeae supported 6 deaf and/or disabled writers; 5 emerging companies continued to be supported through the Springboard Initiative; 1 Assistant Director opportunity was provided; 3 companies from Coventry University’s Theatre & Professional Practice BA were showcased in B2; and we offered 10 work experience opportunities, 6 backstage opportunities, 10 university placements and 4 apprenticeships/ traineeships. We have been working to dissolve the boundaries between our professional, talent development and community work, which has enriched the programme and the experience for audiences, artists, staff and participants alike. This will form the basis for a re-articulation of our work from Autumn 2018. We were a key player in developing Coventry’s successful City of Culture bid, bringing our expertise in youth, diversity and community coproduction to the shaping of a bid with these values very much at its heart. Justine Theman Associate Director

“I cried, I laughed,

cried, laughed again. Must see. Needs to tour to every Secondary. #NoGirlLeft Behind� Emteaz Hussein, writer on Rise

Community & Education

Arts Gymnasium

All Our Tomorrow’s Festival workshop

Zero for the Young Dudes

5 productions Truth or Dare

659 workshops 59 performances 23 performances in schools

Globe Theatre sharing

11,510 participation opportunities 31%

of participants from priority postcode areas Unmade

“I’m sure that not just myself but many many others would benefit enormously from it, and not need as much medication or as much support ... I’m stronger and I’ve got more confidence in my body, which is so important as we get older”

Tethered to the Light

Arts Gym Participant

Our Year in Figures

159,213 tickets sold

466 128 performances


196,854 tickets for shows, events and conferences

42% concession tickets 43% tickets to people living in priority postcode areas 363 free tickets for under 26 year olds

(Disabled, Unemployed, Students, Children, Seniors, Passport to Leisure)

Where our customers came from North - 6,214 Coventry City -15,057 South - 4,189 Other - 6,469

31,929 total number of bookers


47% 13% 20%

Saturday Drama Class

Helping Ourselves The Theatre works hard to develop and diversify its income streams, creating commercial set building via Belgrade Production Services (BPS), commercial workshop programmes for children, young people and adults, and also developing Events & Conferencing. It also brought catering in-house in March 2016.

Breakdown: Box Office 40.2%, Enterprises* 24.5% Fundraising & Sponsorship 3.2% Other** 5% *incorporates income earned by Belgrade Production Services, Catering, Conferencing & Events, Commercial Workshops and ices/merchandising **includes co-production income, hires and programmes.

The amount each £1 of CCC funding generated which rises to £8.87 with ACE funding.


Earned Income







100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

% Earned/ Grant Income

The amount additional & existing sources of commercial income earned, totalling £7m since 2007.

£6.5 £6.0 £5.5 £5.0 £4.5 £4.0 £3.5 £3.0 £2.5 £2.0 £1.5 £1.0 £0.5 £0.0 2011-12

Annual Turnover in £m

73.4% £7.29 £1.44m

The amount of income the theatre now earns.

Grant Income


Belgrade Production Services (BPS), our commercial set building arm, builds sets for Belgrade productions that are seen in other theatres as well as building sets for numerous other companies around the country.

BPS retains a pool of skilled workers in the city and in 2016/17 provided almost 22,540 hours of work for freelance/casual carpenters, welders, props makers, scenic artists and wardrobe technicians, in addition to the Belgrade’s core staffing.

“Jam-packed full of comedy and feel -good factor” Stage Talk Magazine on The Good , The Bad and The Ugly Sisters

Community Cohesion “It was amazing … No rules, just a room full of people, all ages, all abilities, enjoying the show” Volunteer helping at Cinderella relaxed performance, January 2018







participative arts activity ensures access to those who could not otherwise afford to attend. Helping them to develop confidence and skills and create high quality work.

year 6 pupils saw our TiE show Big School aiding the transition from primary to secondary school.

of our productions had Access related performances.

in 1965 The Belgrade Theatre was the birthplace of Theatre in Education (TiE) which went on to become a worldwide movement.

school pupils attended performances.

disabled tickets purchased plus 3,062 carer tickets.

Springboard Companies The Belgrade Theatre acts as a Hub for local creatives. As part of this process we have established the Springboard initiative which supports early stage artists and companies to develop to the next chapter of their careers; offering performance and office space, mentoring, communications and fundraising support. Our five Springboard companies are: High Time Opera, Nasreen Akhtar Khan, Noctium Theatre, Shoot Festival and Strictly Arts Theatre Company.

“At its heart, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin has a simple message for everyone, regardless of age, colour or background: to be truly happy, you need to be comfortable in your own skin� Native Coventry

Thank you to our supporters The Belgrade Theatre Trust is a registered charity (number 219163)* and relies on support we receive from generous individuals and organisations. Those who support our work enable us to continue to develop our artistic, community, educational and talent development work – so thank you.


raised in donations, grants and corporate support - which has enabled us to provide amazing opportunities, including;


Belgrade LifeStage places for young people.


Making Memories tickets for local families in need.


engagement opportunities for older people.



local schools received our Big School tour for year 6 pupils (kindly supported by the Sir Barry Jackson Trust). In addition to our individual members (My Belgrade Events, My Belgrade+, Producers’ Circle) and corporate supporters (Directors’ Club and Performance Partners), the Belgrade Theatre gratefully acknowledges financial support from the following: 2017/2018;

For more information, please visit: The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust

*We are committed to being open, honest and transparent – adhering to the Fundraising Promise and

The Hobson Charity THE W.E.D. CHARITABLE TRUST the independent regulator of charitable fundraising

Photographs: Robert Day, Pamela Raith, Jamie Gray & Nicola Young


Board Members:

Belgrade Theatre Trust (Coventry) Limited (A company limited by guarantee)

Mr S Fergusson, Chairman Ms Shelia Bates Mr A Bhabra (resigned Nov 2017) Mr G W Brooke-Taylor Mr Paul Carvell (appointed July 2017) Mr J F Davidson Mr N Dodzo (appointed Feb 2018) Mr P Fenner ACA/FCCA (resigned July 2017)

Mr W H Glen LLB Ms P Johnstone (resigned Nov 2017) Cllr J Lepodievin (resigned June 2017) Cllr Tim Mayer (appointed June 2017) Mr J McGuigan (resigned Sept 2017) Mr A F Pollock Ms K J Reid BA Hons Cllr A C Skipper

Company Secretary and Executive Director : Ms K J Reid BA Hons Chief Executive and Artistic Director: Mr W H Glen LLB Funding Body Representatives entitled to attend Board meetings: Arts Council England West Midlands - Mr Tom Wildish (Relationship Manager), Coventry City Council - Mr D Cockcroft (Assistant Director, City Centre & Development Services) Charity registered number 219163

Company registered number 593331

Registered office: Belgrade Theatre Belgrade Square Coventry West Midlands CV1 1GS

Coventry’s vibrant producing & presenting theatre.

THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC INVESTMENT 2017-18 The Belgrade Theatre is a charity. Public funding received from Arts Council England, Coventry City Council, fundraising from various Trusts and Foundations, and Charitable and Business Sponsorship, enables us to leverage considerably more from earned income generated through ticket and other sales.

We worked with over

£563k + £323k was paid in net VAT payments


was paid in Tax and NI

= £886k

artists from the UK’s talent pool in the creative industries



directly paid to Government


people experienced a live performance at the Belgrade Theatre



Spent on gross payroll, creating full or part time employment for over 275 people

equivalent value of press coverage

leveraging £960k Arts Council grant


We attracted


Our average ticket price of £14.58 meant our tickets were affordable & accessible

£186,678 in philanthropic support



apprenticeship posts making 30 since 2009 &


work placement hours

We earn


of our income Up from 46% in 08/09

Economic Impact


£8.4m worth of local economic impact

children, young people & aged 50+ participated in workshops, and

41,437 tickets for children and young people sold

Cultural & Social Impact


Printed on FSC paper


Coventry City Council grant