Parliament Launches New APPG For Theatre

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The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Theatre was launched today (Wednesday 16 October), with an event in Parliament.

Hosted by Giles Watling, Conservative MP for Clacton, and Tracy Brabin, Labour MP for Batley and Spen - both former professional actors - the group has been founded to support the resilience and relevance of theatre in the UK for audiences, its offstage and onstage workforce and society.

Guests heard speeches from Arts Minister Helen Whately MP, Shadow Minister Kevin Brennan MP, Tracy Brabin MP, APPG Vice-Chair Lord Kerslake and Julian Bird, CEO of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre.

Actor Hugh Bonneville also spoke, introduced by Giles Watling MP, and there was a special performance from the Royal Shakespeare Company production Matilda The Musical.

The launch concluded with a panel conversation and provocations from leading theatre industry figures Fiona Allan (Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Birmingham Hippodrome), Yamin Choudury (Artistic Director of the Hackney Empire), Sonia Friedman (Producer) and Andrew Miller (Government Disability Champion for Arts and Culture).

The APPG's Statement of Purpose is to identify and debate potential opportunities and issues for the theatre industry in the UK, and increase fellow parliamentarians' understanding of the theatre and performing arts at a national and local level.

UK Theatre and SOLT have been appointed secretariat for the APPG and have brought together a group of theatre organisations and individuals from across the country to act as a sounding board, ensuring that a wide range of theatre topics and issues are explored.

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