National Student Drama Festival under threat as ACE grant is withdrawn

The future of the National Student Drama Festival is under threat after the organisation was told it is to lose its £52,000 grant from Arts Council England.

The 53-year old event, which is held every year in Scarborough, has received funding from ACE for 14 years, but has now been informed its entire grant is to be cut. According to officials at NSDF, this will threaten next year’s festival, which is scheduled to take place in three months time.

NSDF has until mid-January to contest ACE’s decision. The news comes soon after it emerged that the Northcott Theatre in Exeter had also been told it is to lose its full grant, putting its future at risk.

Andy Carver, executive director of ACE, Yorkshire commented: “The recommendation not to continue funding the festival was not made lightly. While we recognise the benefits of the work of the National Student Drama Festival, we believe that primary theatre training for students is more appropriately resourced through the further and higher education sectors.

“As the national development agency for the arts we have had to make some difficult decisions, so we can invest in those organisations producing the most innovative work that reaches out to the widest audiences.

“Our letter to NSDF explains that the organisation can respond to our recommendation and that our regional council will take its response into account before making a final funding decision in the New Year.”

NSDF has launched a petition in a bid to safeguard the event’s future at www.nsdfpetition.org.uk

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