When Victoria Firth joined the Lawrence Batley Theatre as Director nearly nine years ago she immediately fell in love with the building.
But she didn’t have too much time for admiring its elegant contours and spacious courtyard.
More prosaic matters such as a full-blown financial crisis at the Huddersfield theatre needed her full attention.
As Victoria says: “It was all about getting our house in order.”
And with Whitehall imposing huge cuts on local government the battle is on to be leaner and meaner than ever before.
That’s why the theatre has launched a new fundraising campaign, seeking donations from the public not only to guarantee great shows and performances in the years to come, but also to safeguard the historic building in Queen Street.
They have launched the campaign to coincide with the 21st birthday of the theatre.
Victoria added: “We have an agreement with the Arts Council of England and Kirklees Council but we know we are going to get cuts of increasing severity.
“We are good at raising money through other grant applications and talking to the public more about fundraising.
“The danger is that we will only be able in the future to do things that are commercial.”
This would be a shame she feels as the theatre has always prided itself on its ability to stage edgy, more avant-garde productions rather than just a slightly stodgy diet of works guaranteed to put bottoms on seats.
Victoria said: “We turn over about £1m a year which is quite a contribution to the local economy. I’m confident about our future because I think we do a really good job. Our programmes are really exciting and we are always trying to do new things.
“So I want to compromise as little as possible going forward. I don’t want to slip back.”
In the past the theatre has garnered top ratings from the Arts Council with a recent report complimenting it on its “outstanding reputation for artistic excellence.”
So far Kirklees has taken care of the condition of the exterior of the building with the theatre obliged to look after the interior and paying for such items as lighting etc.
But Victoria says: “Everything is wearing out at the same time and we need to ensure access for children and young people.”