Member Spotlight - Theatre Royal Wakefield

“Enjoy a Champagne celebration with colleagues & friends at AN EVENING WITH MURRAY & FRIENDS, Sunday 27 September 2015”

The member featuring in this month's spotlight is no stranger to having their name in lights, in fact the Theatre Royal Wakefield, which was designed by Frank Matcham, has been taking to the stage for more than 120 years. 

As one of our most recent members we chat to Murray Edwards about one of Wakefield's most iconic buildings and creative destinations.

1. Sum up your organisation in just a couple of sentences
A professional and innovative organisation committed to the development of creative opportunities in the performing arts, for both artists and audiences across the Wakefield District and beyond. 

2. What excites you about your organisation and the work that you do?
Our ability to make a difference, to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and play an important part in the economic and social life of the area.

3. What’s next for the Theatre, what should fans be looking out for and do you have any surprises in store?
We have plans to develop the theatre building, to diversify both the programme and audiences, to extend our reach across the UK through our touring work and to seek and engage with new partners both locally and further afield. 

4. What one piece of work/ performance are you most proud of?
That’s very difficult as I am enormously proud of everything we do. However if I had to choose I think it would have to be the work of our young people and the performance they have given of shows such as Les Miserables and Miss Saigon.

5. Why have you chosen to partner with Cognitiv?
As a major part of the Creative Industries in Yorkshire, we believe this is an important way of introducing the theatre to a wider circle of engagement, given the growth that is taking place in the digital sector.

6. What are the biggest issues faced by your sector?
Funding cuts across the sector both nationally and locally are set to undermine many years of valuable work. If the government is serious about seeking up to 40% funding cuts across key government departments then I am fearful for the future.  We have seen a 70% cut in funding over the past 4 years but with the continuing support of audiences and significant fundraising we have managed to remain sustainable. How much longer this can continue remains to be seen. 

7. What are the biggest opportunities for your sector?
To expand our engagement with business, seek new sponsors and find ways of bringing in new income by forging ever closer connections with our audiences.

8. What do you enjoy the most about working in Wakefield?
Being part of a small city, contributing to a wide agenda for change and acting as an advocate for the importance of culture and the arts in both economic and social terms.