Simon Callow Welcomes Theatre Tax Breaks
Regional theatres and touring productions are to benefit from the Government's new tax relief which has just come into force.
And in an exclusive interview with Sky News Entertainment Week, actor Simon Callow, who has been working in the theatre for nearly 40 years, said the Government's support was long overdue.
Estimated to be worth £20m, the break will help support plays, musicals, opera, ballet, dance and circus productions, and assist around 250 production companies a year
"There's this feeling that theatre is an elitist thing and should look after itself. In Europe governments, kings and courts sponsored the theatres.
"In England, since the time of Shakespeare and before it has been a case of strolling players, thieves and vagabonds."
But with UK theatre providing a key attraction for visiting tourists from all over the world, creating an annual spend of £856m per year on arts and culture, it is time for a more business-like approach.
Callow told Sky News: "We live in a different world now. There is absolutely no reason why the theatre should be treated in any other way than a business. And businesses require require support, investment and research from central government in order to thrive."
Callow also paid tribute to fellow actor and director, the late Lord Richard Attenborough, who he described as "the biggest-hearted man ever".
"A fine actor, a marvellous director and a great producer. The loveliest of the luvvies - the best of Luvvidom's absolute triumph," he said.
You can watch Simon Callow's full interview, plus magician Dynamo deny cheat claims and band Collabro sing live in the studio on Sky News Entertainment Week, on Sky Catch Up.
(c) Sky News 2014