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London venues get funding boost

Published 30 March 2012

London venues and organisations including the National Theatre, Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre and English National Opera have been successful in stage one of Arts Council England’s capital funding programme.

The capital’s companies are among 26 organisations that have been successful in the first stage of ACE’s first new capital investment in nine years.

Of the £114 million that ACE has earmarked for the refurbishment and extension of arts buildings throughout England, the National Theatre hopes to receive £17.5 million which will be put towards it NT Future project, creating new opportunities for public participation and interaction with the flagship company.

Commenting on the award, the National Theatre’s Director Nicholas Hytner said: “The National Theatre Future project will see a dramatic opening-up and renewal of Denys Lasdun’s 1970s building: making the theatre, its history, its productions and crafts, and its artists and staff, visible and accessible to a wider public, and creating new opportunities for public participation and enjoyment. An Arts Council capital investment grant of £17.5 million would amount to 25% of our £70 million target, of which £38.5 million has already been raised from trusts, individuals and the National’s own earnings from War Horse. We warmly welcome the Arts Council’s endorsement and look forward to proceeding to the second round of applications.”

The NT’s neighbour on the banks of the Thames, the Southbank Centre, is to receive £20 million to refurbish the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery to bring them up to the standard of the Royal Festival Hall.

The Royal Opera House will receive £10 million for maintenance, repair and modernisation, while ENO gets just over £2 million for upgrades and improvements to its home at the Coliseum.

Away from London, Chichester Festival Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth and Bristol Old Vic are among the theatres set to receive funding.

The companies that have been successful in stage one of the process must now complete a stage 2 application, to show more detailed plans for design and development, within the next 18 months, when ACE will further assess the viability of the project and its investment.

ACE’s Chief Executive, Alan Davey, commented: “This programme is about backing a wide range of really exciting proposals to make sure the arts infrastructure is in place for organisations to thrive, for the benefit of artists and audiences across the country. The Arts Council hasn’t run a capital programme since 2003 so we knew there was a real need to maintain and improve our existing arts and cultural buildings. That’s why we’ve prioritised renovations and refurbishments across the country that deliver sustainability and resilience and ensure organisations have the right facilities and equipment to support and deliver their excellent work.”

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