GOVERNMENT cuts to theatre have led to nearly two thirds of venues cancelling productions, an Oxford University researcher has found.

Oxford University doctoral candidate Helen Campbell Pickford and playwright Fin Kennedy surveyed 26 English theatres for the report.

It found one or more productions had been cancelled at 16 venues since April 2012 and fewer plays were being produced than before 2012 at 14.

The report also found 14 venues had experienced multiple funding cuts, including from councils, trusts and foundations.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced in December that it would reduce grants to the Arts Council England by £11.6m by 2015.

Mr Kennedy said: “At the very least, I hope this is a helpful contribution towards Mr Vaizey developing a fuller understanding of what is taking place in our sector.”

Ed Vaizey, the Government’s minister for culture, communications and creative industries, is also MP for Didcot and Wantage.

Mr Vaizey said: “Theatre is still well funded in this country, not just by direct grants but also with Lottery money. I am absolutely confident new writing will continue to thrive.

“The Arts Council met 40 playwrights last week to encourage them to apply for grants. The money is there if the work is good enough.”