Tuesday 19 September 2017

Arts outside London get funding boost while major venues are cut

An extra £170 million will be ploughed outside London between 2018 and 2022.

Arts Council England will invest an extra £170 million outside London between 2018 and 2022 (Peter Jordan/PA)
Arts Council England will invest an extra £170 million outside London between 2018 and 2022 (Peter Jordan/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

The Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre, National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company are having their funding cut as a result of a new Arts Council settlement which will see more money go outside London.

Arts Council England (ACE) announced that it will invest an extra £170 million outside London between 2018 and 2022.

Organisations getting funding this time include the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, the London Transport Museum, the National Horseracing Museum, the Bronte Society and the Tank Museum.

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National Theatre (John Walton/PA)

Areas including Plymouth, Tees Valley, Bradford, Luton and Stoke-on-Trent will benefit from the new four-year funding round.

“Following conversations”, organisations such as the Royal Opera House have taken an average 3% reduction so that Arts Council England could “focus on bringing in smaller, more diverse organisations into the portfolio”.

Overall funding to London will not change.

English National Opera (ENO), which had been put under special measures in 2014 by Arts Council England, with funding decided on an annual basis, is now back in the portfolio, receiving £12.38 million.

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English National Opera (Laura Lean/PA)

Cressida Pollock, ENO’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have been readmitted … This follows the huge amount of work that has gone into stabilising ENO and developing a sustainable platform from which we are able to grow.

“Only three years ago we were facing a very real risk of closure and it is hugely significant to see the work of the whole company celebrated through this show of confidence from ACE.”

Arts Council England chairman Sir Nicholas Serota said that the “national organisations in London recognise that they can only flourish if the whole ecology flourishes”.

He added: “Everyone deserves the chance to experience the sheer enjoyment, creativity and new horizons that culture can bring.

— Arts Council England (@ace_national) June 27, 2017

“We set out to deliver a significant increase in our investment outside London. We’ve done that, without detriment to the internationally renowned cultural offer of the capital.”

Arts Council England chief executive Darren Henley said some of the big-hitting organisations in London were “more able to diversify their income streams” and “understood that we want to build an arts and culture infrastructure”.

Organisations such as the National Theatre welcomed the funding of 183 new organisations being funded by Arts Council England for the first time but said that making up the shortfall would be a challenge.

The National Theatre will lose about £500,000 a year and the Southbank Centre around £800,000.

The total portfolio of investments is worth an annual £409 million, comprised of Government funding and money from the National Lottery.

Libraries and museums are included for the first time.

The Factory Manchester, a new cultural venue, is a major recipient, with £7 million capital from the lottery fund and £9 million annual revenue from 2018-22.

Wise Children, to be led by Emma Rice when she leaves Shakespeare’s Globe, has also been awarded funding.

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