Rose Theatre must fend for itself, new Kingston Council leader Councillor Kevin Davis warns

Surrey Comet: Councillor Kevin Davis: "I’m not a believer in never-ending subsidies for things." Councillor Kevin Davis: "I’m not a believer in never-ending subsidies for things."

Kingston’s new Conservative council leader has said the Rose Theatre “has to learn to stand on its own feet” instead of relying on council funding.

Former Rose artistic director Stephen Unwin tweeted during last week’s election count: “God help the Rose if the Tories win!”

 

Defeated Liberal Democrat leader Liz Green also claimed the Rose was now under threat.

Councillor Kevin Davis, who was chosen after the party’s win, said Kingston Council had already left the Rose “quite a big legacy” – which amounts to £500,000 a year until 2016.

His predecessor revealed the details of the Rose's service level agreement with the council and Kingston University earlier this year.

Coun Davis said: “I’m not a believer in never-ending subsidies for things. It has to learn to stand on its own feet.

“The Rose Theatre’s destiny is in its hands.

“The direction that the leadership of the Rose is taking is probably the right direction.

“I don’t expect to be breaking any existing contracts. I want the Rose to survive and thrive. I’m a great fan of the arts and I think they have got an enormous amount to give to the culture of Kingston.

“I would be very worried about the Rose being seen as the only artistic and cultural aspect of Kingston. We have taken no decisions about that.”

Coun Davis has returned to the council after losing his seat in 2006.

Since then he has run for Parliament both in Kingston and Yeovil, where he also campaigned for Conservative council hopefuls, and contributed to London Mayor Boris Johnson’s 2012 campaign.

The Kingston Theatre Trust posted a loss of more than £200,000 in its 2012-13 accounts, partly due to poor ticket sales.

Surrey Comet:

The Rose Theatre, in Kingston's High Street

But chief executive Robert O’Dowd said the 2013-14 figures looked “considerably better”, and that he agreed with Coun Davis the Rose ought to become more free-standing.

He said: “That’s the remit I was given by the board. We’re on the right trajectory.

“I’m very excited about sitting down with the new administration to understand what that means fully, over the coming years.”

Lib Dem opposition leader Coun Liz Green said: “The minute they won, the Rose was under threat in my mind.

“[Coun Davis] has been off the council for eight years. Has he read the new deal? I think we get a lot out of having it there.

“In terms of the economy of the town centre it’s vitally important.”

What do you think? Should Kingston Council's existing support for the Rose Theatre continue? Leave a comment below or send a letter to: letters@surreycomet.co.uk


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Comments (11)

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11:24am Fri 30 May 14

bravenewmalden says...

What in are the local philistines going to complain about now?
What in are the local philistines going to complain about now? bravenewmalden
  • Score: 0

11:41am Fri 30 May 14

Tony from Surbiton says...

Good to read that the Chief Executive of the Rose agrees with the new council leader. The only one in disagreement seems to be the LibDem leader.
Good to read that the Chief Executive of the Rose agrees with the new council leader. The only one in disagreement seems to be the LibDem leader. Tony from Surbiton
  • Score: -1

12:23pm Fri 30 May 14

0753waterloo says...

I also fear for the Rose's future. Failed Parliamentary Candidate Davis has given only luke warm backing for the theatre in this article.

All legacies are not necessarily negative.
I also fear for the Rose's future. Failed Parliamentary Candidate Davis has given only luke warm backing for the theatre in this article. All legacies are not necessarily negative. 0753waterloo
  • Score: 7

12:26pm Fri 30 May 14

bravenewmalden says...

bravenewmalden wrote:
What in are the local philistines going to complain about now?
Oops. Missed out 'heaven's name'. As in 'What in heaven's name...'
[quote][p][bold]bravenewmalden[/bold] wrote: What in are the local philistines going to complain about now?[/p][/quote]Oops. Missed out 'heaven's name'. As in 'What in heaven's name...' bravenewmalden
  • Score: 0

12:35pm Fri 30 May 14

Red_Rock says...

"Defeated Liberal Democrat leader Liz Green also claimed the Rose was now under threat."

A pathetic comment from a failed politician. No wonder she was defeated.
"Defeated Liberal Democrat leader Liz Green also claimed the Rose was now under threat." A pathetic comment from a failed politician. No wonder she was defeated. Red_Rock
  • Score: -3

4:16pm Fri 30 May 14

S Leader says...

Maybe there will now be some money to restore our MEMORIAL GARDEN that has been desecrated and ruined by the last council and Kingston First, BOTH who thought it was a market place
Maybe there will now be some money to restore our MEMORIAL GARDEN that has been desecrated and ruined by the last council and Kingston First, BOTH who thought it was a market place S Leader
  • Score: 1

6:07pm Fri 30 May 14

chramies says...

Your precious memorial garden could be restored by public subscription which you could start right now instead of sitting at your computer in your mum's basement complaining about public money being spent on the arts.
Your precious memorial garden could be restored by public subscription which you could start right now instead of sitting at your computer in your mum's basement complaining about public money being spent on the arts. chramies
  • Score: 4

6:57pm Fri 30 May 14

Rickastley says...

I'm all for money been spent I. The arts but. There are more pressing things OUR council tax money could be spent on.
I'm all for money been spent I. The arts but. There are more pressing things OUR council tax money could be spent on. Rickastley
  • Score: 2

5:33pm Sat 31 May 14

mikenm says...

It's about time it was properly reviewed. That said, the Rose has upped it's game somewhat under Robert O'Dowd, compared to the Stephen Unwin era when it had no idea of customer service and frankly amateur staff. Unwin also had a tendency to not bother with his commitments to RBK once he'd secured the funding. Lets hope O'Dowd is better in that respect too. He might need to be with the new administration.
It's about time it was properly reviewed. That said, the Rose has upped it's game somewhat under Robert O'Dowd, compared to the Stephen Unwin era when it had no idea of customer service and frankly amateur staff. Unwin also had a tendency to not bother with his commitments to RBK once he'd secured the funding. Lets hope O'Dowd is better in that respect too. He might need to be with the new administration. mikenm
  • Score: 1

6:54pm Sat 31 May 14

pinky107 says...

about time too , any other business making a loss or relying on hand outs would have shut , why should the Rose be different ?
about time too , any other business making a loss or relying on hand outs would have shut , why should the Rose be different ? pinky107
  • Score: -3

6:11pm Sun 1 Jun 14

berrybabe says...

Red_Rock wrote:
"Defeated Liberal Democrat leader Liz Green also claimed the Rose was now under threat."

A pathetic comment from a failed politician. No wonder she was defeated.
She wasn't.
She topped the poll in her Surbiton ward.
And actually got more votes than Tory leader Kevin Davis.

I predict he'll get fewer still once voters become familiar with Davis' founding role in Cratus, a company that acts as principal cheerleader for property developers trying to trample over public opinion to develop greenbelt and MOL land.
[quote][p][bold]Red_Rock[/bold] wrote: "Defeated Liberal Democrat leader Liz Green also claimed the Rose was now under threat." A pathetic comment from a failed politician. No wonder she was defeated.[/p][/quote]She wasn't. She topped the poll in her Surbiton ward. And actually got more votes than Tory leader Kevin Davis. I predict he'll get fewer still once voters become familiar with Davis' founding role in Cratus, a company that acts as principal cheerleader for property developers trying to trample over public opinion to develop greenbelt and MOL land. berrybabe
  • Score: 4

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