Canterbury City Council have announced that it will relinquish the governance of the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury and that the theatre will now be run by an independent charitable trust.
The theatre, which was reopened in 2011 to the public, will now be run by the newly formed Marlowe Theatre Trust, which will be led by former Chichester Festival artistic director Jonathon Church CBE as its chair.
Church, one of the country’s top theatre directors and producers, was appointed in November ahead of a proposed handover, with the council formally and unanimously approving the plans on January 4th.
Mr Church’s previous work includes being the artistic director of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre. Both he and the newly-formed shadow board will oversee the transfer of the Marlowe Theatre to The Marlowe Trust Ltd sometime in the spring or summer of 2018.
In response to the council’s decision, Mr Church said that he was “delighted” to see this happen.
“I think the fact that it was unanimous speaks volumes. I now look forward to putting together a shadow board and working with the theatre team in the coming months to bring this long-held plan to life.”
The announcement of the Marlowe Theatre gaining ‘Charitable Trust’ status will enable theatre bosses to bid for cash from a wide range of funding streams that they were unable to access under the council’s control.
The move is also expected to save council taxpayers £238,000 over the first two years and £111,000 each year after that.
Leader of Canterbury City Council’s Simon Cook said: “Since it was opened in 2011, The Marlowe has become an incredible success story thanks to the city council’s investment, the hard work and determination of its staff at all levels and the passionate support of its audiences.
“This decision signals the start of the next chapter in the theatre’s story and we are genuinely excited at the prospect of its future success.”