The unthinkable is beginning to happen, casually and without apology: the very notion of civic support for theatre is in doubt. Theatre, Britain's most successful industry as well as its greatest cultural contribution to the world, is at the heart of British life. It is intimately bound up with the life of the community, and has been from time immemorial: this is why it is so remarkable. It is tragic that for the sake of trifling sums, our theatres are closing or being forced into life-threstening economies. Once closed, a theatre rarely re-opens, and the community it serves is immeasurably impoverished. A whole new generation of directors and writers and actors is denied the crucial experience of working with audiences, and audiences no longer share in the development of thrilling young talent; the theatre is confined to a few great centres; the whole profession is diminished, the future vitality of the art threatened. These cuts must be resisted fiercely by anyone - audiences and artists alike - who cares for the future of the theatre.