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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Following the Burlesque debate, Hebden Bridge Picture House now has a Bookings Policy

Following the report on the HebWeb (28 June) that the Town Council had banned the Burlesque Festival from the Picture House, a major row broke out in our town. The row resulted in over 130 contributions to the HebWeb Forum and national media attention.

One consequence of this row is that Hebden Royd Town Council on Wednesday 2nd October adopted a clear bookings policy for the Hebden Bridge Picture House.

Developed by councillors not previously involved with the Picture House and Members of the Friends of the Picture House the policy aims to be open, accessible and accountable, be responsive to the needs of the community and promote equal opportunities.

Diversity and equality are embedded in the heart of the policy and Hebden Royd Town Council has committed itself to promoting these values.

By presenting an artistic programme of film and cinematic events that reflect a wide range of styles and cultures the Picture House advances equality of opportunity and foster good relations. The Picture House welcomes a wide range of performers and representations, particularly of those groups that have low public visibility or are subject to prejudice against them.

Cllr Jonathan Timbers, who chaired the Bookings Committee, told the HebWeb, "What we did is we reviewed every aspect of our booking policy and all the practical aspects of hiring the venue and the costs involved.
Equality and human rights are central to the policy.

"There was a high degree of concensus with all those involved in the bookings policy, which included Labour and Lib Dem councillors, staff from the Picture House and representatives from the Friends of the Picture House group.

"We are pleased with the result, which puts us in the forefront of local authorities and public authorities in respect of our bookings policy. It's a standard to which others can aspire.

"The most important thing is it means that if there are acts we feel encourage hate speech or assist with the marginalisation of vulnerable parts of the community, we don't have to have them - subject to a proper evidence-based process and public discussion."

The policy can be viewed here

See also

HebWeb Forum: Picture House: new booking policy (October 2013)

Previously, on the HebWeb

HebWeb Forum: Burlesque Festival (June-July 2013)

HebWeb News: Town Council vetoes Burlesque Festival from using The Picture House (Friday, 28 June 2013)