National companies dominate first round of ACE capital funding

The National Theatre, Royal Opera House and Chichester Festival Theatre are among 26 companies which have been successful in the first stage of Arts Council England’s new capital funding programme.

ACE intends to invest £114 million in the first round of the fund, which will represent the first new capital investment by the arts council in nearly a decade. Projects that have made it through to the second stage of the funding process include the National’s application for up to £17.5 million towards its National Theatre Future project, £12 million towards CFT’s plans to transform its auditorium, front and backstage areas, and £10 million to help ROH undertake a programme of refurbishment, maintenance and repair.

Nicholas Hytner, director of the National, 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.”

Other projects to make it to the second stage of funding include the Southbank Centre’s application for £20 million to refurbish the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery, £2.1 million to English National Opera for refurbishments at the London Coliseum, around £750,000 for the Roundhouse in Camden, and £586,000 to The Place.

Projects outside London to make it to the next stage include £5 million towards Manchester City Council’s plans for a new venue housing both the Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company, £2 million to the Rosehill Theatre in West Cumbria, £750,000 to the New Theatre Royal Portsmouth, £5 million to the Theatre Royal Plymouth and £5 million to the Bristol Old Vic.

Richard Elder, director of Rosehill said: “Obviously we are delighted that Arts Council England has supported our plans for Rosehill in such a significant way. It’s a major vote of confidence in our vision and will be the catalyst for major support from others.

“Rosehill is the only professional theatre in West Cumbria and we want it to become a local theatre of national significance: a beacon of artistic excellence firmly rooted in its community, with a national reputation for exciting, innovative and participatory work. Today’s announcement will put us well on the way to turning our vision into a reality and will give more people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to enjoy, experience the benefits of and participate in the performing arts in a venue that is well equipped for the 21st century.”

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