An independent charitable trust will take on the management of The Marlowe after councillors gave the plan the green light last night (Thursday 4 January).
Detailed negotiations about how Canterbury City Council hands over the running of the theatre in Canterbury will now intensify after formal approval was given unanimously at the meeting of the full council.
The creation of a trust should unlock a host of benefits to the council, the theatre and its audiences including the ability for its teams to be even more creative and develop deeper links with the community.
Charitable trust status will enable theatre bosses to bid for cash from a wide range of funding streams that they were unable to tap into, and 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 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.”
In November, the council named Jonathan Church CBE, one of the country’s top theatre directors and producers, as the first chairman of the new Marlowe Trust.
Reacting to the news plans for a trust will now progress, Mr Church said: “I am delighted with the decision and 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. And, of course, I look forward to us working together beyond this into an even more successful future for The Marlowe.”
Mr Church, and the newly-formed shadow board will oversee the transfer of the theatre to The Marlowe Trust Ltd in the spring or summer of this year.