Islington’s Almeida theatre has secured a three-year partnership with insurance company Aspen, which will become the venue’s principal partner from July 2011.
The deal will allow the Almeida to continue to produce the high quality of production on which it has built a strong reputation, while keeping ticket prices affordable. Away from the front line, it also includes a commitment to the theatre’s thriving education and community programme, Almeida Projects.
The partnership follows swiftly on the heels of the Arts Council funding cuts announced in March, in which the Almeida lost 39% of its funding, in real terms, over the next three years. The company now has to raise more than £1.2 million annually, not including ticket sales and the reduced funding, to keep the company afloat.
Michael Attenborough, Artistic Director of the Almeida theatre, commented: “In the current climate, Aspen’s commitment to our progressive, cutting-edge programme and our social and educational role within the local community is a wonderful, enlightened expression of support for our work and a ringing endorsement of everything that the Almeida stands for.”
Karen Green, CEO of Aspen UK, added: “Aspen has been an admirer and supporter of the Almeida Theatre for eight years. As a local theatre with tremendous international outreach, we are very proud to work with the Almeida theatre in delivering its innovative programme of work as Principal Partner and in fulfilling a vibrant role in the local community through Almeida Projects, in particular at this difficult time for the Arts. We look forward to the Almeida theatre’s continued success in bringing new perspectives to the theatre.”
The Almeida’s association with Aspen dates back to 2004, when the multinational insurance company sponsored the production of Edward Albee’s The Goat Or Who Is Sylvia. It has subsequently sponsored seven other productions at the north London venue.
It is fitting that the partnership should be announced now, as the Almeida is currently staging another of Albee’s plays A Delicate Balance, starring Imelda Staunton and Penelope Wilton.