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London venues embraced in young people’s free theatre scheme

Published 17 December 2008

Arts Council England today announced the successful applicants for its pilot scheme which aims to offer 618,000 free theatre tickets to under 26-year-olds over the next two years. The list of successful theatres includes many of London’s top off-West End venues.

Among them, a joint application from a consortium comprising the Almeida theatre, BAC, Bush theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Greenwich theatre, Hampstead theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Royal Court, Soho theatre, Tricycle theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Young Vic received £300,000 of funding to make the scheme possible, the largest grant of today’s announcement.

Other recipients of smaller awards include the National Theatre, Barbican, Rose theatre Kingston, Hackney Empire Studio, Trafalgar Studios, Pleasance theatre, Arcola theatre, Polka theatre for children, Blue Elephant theatre, Albany theatre, artsdepot, Harrow Arts Centre, Millfield Arts Centre, Orange Tree theatre, Roundhouse, Gate theatre and Half Moon Young People’s theatre.

The as yet unnamed scheme, which will be launched with a week of activities in February 2009, was announced in September, when applications for a share of the £2.5 million of funding were sought. A total of 116 applications were received, of which 99 were successful, resulting in more than 200 venues across England joining the scheme.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said: “Venues around the country have responded to this initiative with energy and imagination. Through their creative commitment, many more young people will experience what theatre can do – inspire, challenge, and help make sense of the world; an engagement and an inspiration that can last all their lives. We’re looking forward to working with the successful venues to get everything ready for an exciting week of launch activities in February.”

The initiative is specifically aimed at 18-26-year-olds, an age range in which arts attendance traditionally struggles. It will run alongside many current reduced price ticket schemes to encourage theatregoing among young adults and families.

“At the Royal Court we have always welcomed young people into our theatre whether this be as audience members or through our unparalleled Young Writers programme,” added Royal Court Artistic Director Dominic Cooke. “As such, we are thrilled to be part of this important and ground-breaking consortium and look forward to seeing theatre enrich and inspire ever-increasing numbers of young people.”

MA

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