The chief executive of Theater Royal Plymouth has said he is leaving the company in good financial health and should be able to thrive in 2022 – provided there is not another Covid lockdown.
Adrian Vinken, who is resigning in January 2022 after 31 years of service, said theater audiences have made a comeback after the restrictions were lifted.
But he said without the support of the government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, which has already invested Â£ 849million nationwide, TRP, along with all other regional theaters, museums and galleries in the UK, would have went bankrupt.
The TRP received a grant of Â£ 1.9million, from the Â£ 1.6billion fund, in 2020, and received an additional Â£ 700,000 in November 2021. The theater received a blow of 10 million pounds sterling in 2020, when he was forced to close during the pandemic shutdowns, but is now in a more solid position and accounts at the end of March 2021 showed he had funds of $ 15.4million of pounds sterling.
Mr Vinken said TPR is fortunate enough to be able to open at Christmas 2020, albeit with restrictions, and the public has remained loyal in 2021.
Many shows are now sold out, but others still only have a 70-80% capacity and Mr Vinken said: âIt’s not entirely sustainable, but at the moment we are financially stable and have a good program for next year. So unless there is another total lockdown, and we can operate on the kind of base that we are right now, we are sustainable.
“If there isn’t a total foreclosure, we have financial reserves and strong program and public loyalty and advance reservations, so we’re sustainable.”
Mr Vinken said that, of course, if Omicron’s situation made matters worse, TRP would not be the only one to suffer, as other companies and sectors would be in trouble as well, but he said: ” Hopefully the vaccines give us as much protection as possible.
He said that if the government had not found the money for the Cultural Recovery Fund, “there would be no cultural sector in this country” and said: “All the regional theaters outside of London as well. that museums and galleries would have disappeared “.
Mr Vinken announced in April 2021 that he would be leaving the main performing arts center in the South West and the UK’s largest producing regional theater.
James Mackenzie-Blackman, managing director of Scotland’s largest performing arts venue, Eden Court Highlands, has been appointed to replace him.
Mr Vinken said he had the privilege of working as the managing director of TRP, describing the job as “a cross between working in a confectionery and a garland factory”.
Among the accomplishments were the opening of the TR2 production plant, the huge theater upgrade that saw the creation of The Lab to join the Lyric and Drum auditoriums, and what he described as “The Cherry on the cake “: the location of the enormous Messenger sculpture on the royal parade.
But Mr. Vinken was also proud of the âglorious peopleâ he worked with for more than three decades – including famous performers, directors, writers and impresarios, as well as staff at all levels of the TRP.
âI have worked with some of the best in the business,â he said. “And there is also our brilliant and industry-leading community program. We have been doing this for a long time, a pioneering program working with the homeless community and those with social inclusion, those who are dependent and have health issues. mental health, refugees and asylum seekers, and our support for people and their creativity reaches every section of the city.
âI don’t think there is a regional theater in the country so committed to this. It’s something I’m proud of and Plymouth should be proud of. “
Mr Vinken, winner of the Plymouth Business Awards for Lifetime Achievement in 2013 and the Western Morning News Lifetime Achievement Award this month, has joined TRP after a 10-year career in Sheffield at during which he founded and directed the Leadmill concert hall. .
Since then, he has built an organization with an enviable reputation for its large and eclectic artistic program attracting over 350,000 audiences each year – and in 2019/20 over 81,000 people from diverse backgrounds through the engagement program and d the aforementioned leading learning.
The TRP, a charitable organization, operates at two sites. The Theater Royal Plymouth, opened in 1982, is the youngest listed theater in the UK and today houses three auditoriums.
It is complemented by TRP’s 2003 award-winning TRP Production and Learning Center on the Plymouth Waterfront, which houses the theater’s learning and engagement programs as well as its rehearsal and production facilities for world class.
In April 2019, Mr Vinken also oversaw the commissioning and installation of Messenger, the UK’s largest ‘lost wax’ bronze sculpture by Joseph Hillier, located in front of the theater.
Mr. Vinken is also proud of the TRP’s involvement in campaigns to protect funding for the arts, ahead of the pandemic, and his own role in driving the Mayflower 400 campaign.
He said that as this ends now, the big opportunity for the city will be around its designation as a national marine park.
He said he sees a bright future for the city, as evidenced by support from the central government and organizations such as the Arts Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Visit Britain.
“Everyone is talking about Plymouth as a model of good practice,” he said. “And as a model for other cities in the country – an example.
“And we can build on the success of Mayflower 400 and the National Marine Park will be what the city can use to move forward and make new investments and improve the city’s infrastructure.”
Business Live’s Southwestern business reporter is William Telford. William has over a decade of experience reporting on the business scene in Plymouth and the South West. It is based in Plymouth but covers the entire region.
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Mr Vinken remains on the boards of Destination Plymouth and The Lowry Theater and Gallery in Salford and said: “I am always interested in giving in areas where I can make a difference and continue to learn. “
He said he was not looking for a new challenge, but “if something comes up where people think I can make a contribution, and I agree with them, I would look forward to it.”
Apart from that Mr Vinken intends to stay in Plymouth where he has family including grandchildren and possibly indulge in his passion for mountaineering and said: “He there are places I haven’t been in Scotland, and a big mountain or two around the world that I watch, but I travel when the Covid position calms down. “