Jenny Chapman MP


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Finance Bill - Darlington Civic Theatre

Jenny discusses tax relief for theatre production

Jenny Chapman MP queried the impact of the Government's tax relief for theatre production on the Darlington Civic Theatre, during today's debate in the House of Commons on the Finance Bill.

She raised the issue with Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland and Labour's Shadow Minister for Culture, who noted that such a theatre would only benefit indirectly and made the wider point that this tax relief would in no way compensate the deep cuts to public funding for the arts.

Jenny Chapman (Darlington) (Lab): My hon. Friend has spoken about how the changes might apply to the National Theatre. Is she intending to move on to talk about regional theatre and how those changes may or may not benefit somewhere such as the Darlington Civic Theatre?

Helen Goodman: I am, because I know that my hon. Friend has a keen interest in that, as do people up and down this country.

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To return to the point that my hon. Friend the Member for Darlington (Jenny Chapman) raised, it is my understanding that in Darlington, the theatre is what is called a receiving house. That means that new plays are not being made in Darlington. Companies come on tour to Darlington and their productions are shown for several days. There are many very good producing houses in the regions as well; one good example would be the Nottingham Playhouse, where they make plays and tour them, and sometimes they tour them to London—they have just had something on at the Almeida.

A receiving house will not get the benefit of this tax relief; it is the producing company that gets the benefit. Of course, it may be that if they get the tax relief or the tax credit, they could offer the production to the receiving house for slightly less money, which might ease the situation in a place like Darlington, but there will not be a direct benefit, as I understand it.

Follow the link to read the Finance Bill Finance Bill debate in full.


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