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Campaigns launched to protect Propeller and Red Ladder following ACE cuts

A scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream in 2009 from Propeller. Photo: Nobby Clark
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Campaigns have been launched to save theatre companies Propeller and Red Ladder, both of which were hit with 100% cuts to their funding from Arts Council England this week.

A petition calling on ACE to reconsider its decision to stop funding all-male Shakespeare company Propeller from 2015 has been set up online, with 250 people so far lending their support to it.

Propeller currently receives around £265,000 annually from ACE, with the company claiming this amounts to 19.42% of its turnover. Its artistic director, Edward Hall, this week admitted that the company’s future is in doubt because of the cut.

Meanwhile, supporters of Red Ladder, based in Leeds, have launched a campaign urging each one of the theatre company’s Twitter followers to donate £10.

The company receives around £160,000 each year from ACE, and the campaign aims to raise this amount, which Red Ladder said would fund two touring productions.

The #GisaTenner campaign has currently raised more than £3,000. It will be fully launched next week, with a dedicated website outlining other ways people can support the company.

Rod Dixon, Red Ladder artistic director, said: “Let’s hope we can change this awful news into something positive and remind everyone in the UK how industrious, resilient and vitally important this sector really is.”

Meanwhile, Orange Tree artistic director Paul Miller has also called on people to support his venue, which was also hit with a 100% ACE cut.

He said the venue currently receives £365,170 a year from ACE, amounting to 24% of the theatre’s income.

Miller said ACE, while not providing annual funding from 2015, had assured him it would continue to support the Orange Tree and his plans in the future.

“They have other funding schemes that we can apply for that will help to support our programme. So our relationship with ACE remains very important to us,” he said.

He added that he planned to expand the range of work the theatre does, and refurbish parts of the building.

“To do all this while we adjust to the loss of such substantial public investment will require us to boost our fundraising efforts,” he said.

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