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Jerry Springer venue ''in danger'' 1/20/2007
The London arts venue that first staged controversial musical Jerry Springer: The Opera has said proposed funding cuts will threaten its existence.
Wandsworth Council has told the Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) it intends to reduce its £100,000 annual grant and charge for rent and maintenance costs.

The venue says such plans "would render BAC''s present operation unviable".

During Prime Minister''s Questions this week, Tony Blair said the venue did "a fantastic job" and should stay open.

However, a Wandsworth Council spokesman said government cuts had forced it to "make some very difficult decisions".


Located in Battersea''s former town hall, the BAC has occupied its Grade II listed building near Clapham Junction railway station since 1980.

The venue cites French and Saunders, Harry Hill, Paul Merton and the League of Gentlemen as examples of artists who have "emerged" there over the last 25 years.

Jerry Springer: The Opera - a musical spoof inspired by the controversial US talk show host - was first performed at BAC in an early workshop form in 2001.

The show, which went on to perform in Edinburgh, London and New York, prompted a deluge of protests when it was screened on BBC Two in 2005.

Wandsworth Council is proposing a £270,000 levy to cover rent and maintenance costs in place of its current token rent.

"It''s not fair Wandsworth council tax payers are being asked to fund what is in effect a London-wide regional arts resource," said its spokesman.

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