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Theatre criticises regional daily over planned job cuts

A regional theatre has criticised a daily newspaper over proposed job cuts which it says will lead to the axeing of all arts coverage.

The Archant-owned East Anglian Times and sister title the Ipswich Star are currently shedding around 14 jobs ahead of the Star’s move to five-day-a-week publication from next Monday.

But the Ipswich-based New Wolsey Theatre claims the cutbacks will mean the end of all arts coverage in the EADT.

EADT editor Terry Hunt says the paper will “continue to provide a high quality service” but has refused to be drawn on the details of the cuts.

The New Wolsey is urging Ipswich theatre-goers to write to Terry regarding the issue.

In a statement on its website, it said:  “The New Wolsey Theatre is concerned to hear of an apparent strategy by the East Anglian Daily Times to abandon all arts coverage.

“We know from our experience and research that our customers look to the EADT for information and features about the arts, particularly from the popular Saturday edition of the paper.

“At a time when arts activity in the region is growing in diversity, vitality and ambition, when its economic contribution is being recognised alongside its place in creating an attractive social and cultural environment, it seems a very retrograde step for the EADT to be removing itself from this vital and expanding area of, excitement, commentary and debate.

“For the health of the cultural scene within the region, the organisations like ourselves which rely on the coverage and commentary that EADT provide, and the future health of your own publication we urge the EADT to reconsider.”

Said Terry:  “Of course we recognise the importance of arts coverage in the EADT, and we will continue to provide a high-quality service.

“I’m not able to comment any further, because we are currently in consultation with a number of editorial staff members. As soon as I am able to give any more detail, I will do so.”

Archant has previously confirmed that the forthcoming changes will result in a reduction of 14 roles from the 91-strong editorial team.

Those at risk of losing their jobs include photographers, sub-editors and feature writers. Newsdesk, sport, commercial and business writers will be unaffected.