civic theatre



  • In Britain, a system (also called municipal theater),by which theaters managed by a trust receive public funds from localgovernment in order to enrich the cultural life of the community.

    Britain's first civic theater, the Belgrade Theatrein Coventry, was established in 1958 by the city council and leasedto an independent trust mostly made up of city councillors. The Lyceum,Edinburgh, which opened in 1883, became Scotland's first civic theaterin 1965. Most such theaters are given total artistic freedom despitetheir subsidies. Many are now kept in business by a combination oflocal government funding, Arts Council grants, and money raised bythe theater; in 1993 the Greenwich Theatre, London, for example, received£140,000 from local authorities, £185,000 from the Arts Council,and raised £700,000 itself.

    Other civic theaters include Manchester's Library and ForumTheatres, owned and operated as repertory theaters by the city council,the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, established as a regional centre fortouring companies by the local authority, and The Playhouse, Nottingham,a theater built with funds loaned by local government.

    In America the term usually refers to publicly funded amateurgroups, such as the Little Theatres.