Arts Council England (ACE) has today announced details of its investment plans for the next three years with 46 new organisations added to its portfolio and 58 losing funding entirely, including London’s Orange Tree Theatre.
From 2015 to 2018, around £1 billion will be invested in 670 arts organisations across the country by ACE. Since 2010 many arts organisations have seen funding cut following the coalition government’s spending review that slashed the ACE’s budget by nearly 30%.
Among the organisations receiving cuts in this new round of ACE funding are some of the capital’s biggest institutions. In cash cut terms, the National Theatre will have its funding reduced by 1.7%. Hit harder are the Barbican Theatre, which loses 16%, and English National Opera, which sees one of the biggest reductions of 27%. In real terms, this means the company’s funding will drop from £17.2 million to £12.4 million a year. However the acclaimed opera company will receive up to a further £7.6m transition funding as part of its new business plan balancing commercial and public investment.
Paul Miller, who received the news that the Orange Tree Theatre will lose 100% of its ACE funding on his first day as Artistic Director of the Richmond Venue, commented: “Naturally we are deeply disappointed not to be a National Portfolio Organisation between 2015 and 2018. We submitted a bold application that demonstrated our passion to produce work that meets ACE’s five main goals: goals that we share. However we were warned that Arts Council England were under an extraordinary pressure to balance the Portfolio across the whole country and we appreciate that this year something had to give… Our commitment to making lively, diverse and potent theatre in our unique theatre remains as strong as ever.”
Amongst those gaining financial support is London Bridge’s Unicorn Theatre, which has been rewarded an increase of 30%, taking its annual grant to £1,303,884 from April 2015. Commenting on the news, which follows a successful first two years at the helm for Purni Morell, who has programmed 65 productions since April 2012, the Artistic Director said: “Children’s theatre has come a long way since the Unicorn was founded in 1947, and it’s a terrific milestone to be recognised in this funding round as being equally important to the cultural life of the nation as any of the country’s leading theatres. We’re absolutely committed to making this vital public investment count, not just for the Unicorn but for the whole of children’s theatre in the UK, as we embark on an ambitious programme of commissions, productions, tours and talent development, as ever, working with some of the best artists around, and continuing to push expectations of what can be achieved in children’s arts ever higher.”
Funding for the ACE’s Grants for the Arts scheme, which is awarded to companies and individuals for one-off projects, has also seen an increase, rising from 2014/2015’s £63 million to £70 million in 2015/2016.
Speaking about this latest wave of funding decisions, Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England, said: “We are in the premier league of creative nations and this portfolio will keep us on top in an era of tight funding. We can delight in our arts organisations and museums for the sheer inspiration they bring to our daily lives as well as their contribution to the creative sector. I’m proud that we’ve been able to deliver such a strong and well balanced portfolio.
“With 46 new entrants to the National Portfolio, with increased funding for Grants for the Arts, and with Creative People and Places being maintained at its current level over the next period, this settlement represents a commitment by Arts Council England to new talent and building England’s arts and culture capacity all over the country. When funding is declining you have to set priorities – this we have done.”
For full details of theatre companies affected by today’s news, visit the ACE website.