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Bubble Wrap?

PUBLISHED: 16:26 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:27 01 July 2010

A WELL-RESPECTED theatre company is facing closure as the Arts Council prepares to slash their funding. The London Bubble Theatre Company, which has performed in Greenwich Park, the Royal Naval College and Danson Park, and influenced many of today s top

A WELL-RESPECTED theatre company is facing closure as the Arts Council prepares to slash their funding.

The London Bubble Theatre Company, which has performed in Greenwich Park, the Royal Naval College and Danson Park, and influenced many of today's top actors, is appealing against a decision to halve its funding.

The company, which has been running for 35 years, could lose its annual grant of £420,000 from the Arts Council.

Performing arts companies across the UK are under threat as the Arts Council has recommended that 194 organisations out of 990 receive cuts in funding. London Bubble artistic director Jonathan Petherbridge said: "I feel a huge sense of injustice. I am not angry, I am trying not to be. I just think they got it wrong. There are a lot of new people in the Arts Council and I don't think they know the company that well.

"The Arts Council doesn't think we are cutting edge enough. Our audiences fundamentally disagree with them. People really value the company. We have had around 500 letters and emails in support and that is only over the Christmas period.

"Some people say this is because of the Olympics as they are encouraging work that will feed into the Olym pic ceremonies - very visual work."

John Austin MP for Erith and Thamesmead has written to the Arts Council asking it to reconsider.

He said: "I was very disappointed by their decision because I have been a great admirer of the work they do in our area and the work they do with children."

A spokesperson for the Arts Council said: "We have had concerns about London Bubble in this regard for some time, with particular - but not exclusive - reference to artistic quality. These concerns have been shared and discussed with the company repeatedly over a number of years. In terms of theatre companies losing out to circus and street arts because of the Olympics. Absolutely not. No funds are being diverted from our regularly funded organisations to the Olympics."

London Bubble is launching an appeal against the Art Council recommendation next Tuesday.

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