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First beneficiaries of London small grants scheme include BAC and Bush Theatre

Battersea Arts Centre. Photo: Morely von Sternberg Battersea Arts Centre. Photo: Morely von Sternberg
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Battersea Arts Centre and the Bush Theatre are among the first recipients of grants from a pioneering new fund for small London theatres, backed by Cameron Mackintosh.

The producer is giving £25,000 to inaugurate the London Theatres Small Grants Scheme, the first round of which will see five theatres receive £5,000 each to carry out urgent work.

The scheme was set up by the Theatres Trust last year in response to a London Assembly investigation, which found that more than 75% of the capital’s small theatres are in need of significant upgrade or renovation.

The first theatres to benefit from grants include BAC, which will use the money to install a permanent wheelchair ramp leading to the bar and cafe on the side of its building. This will contribute to improving the building’s accessibility more widely as part of a major redevelopment project at the south London venue.

The Bush’s roof and windows will be repaired thanks to its grant, while arts charity Spid Theatre in north-west London will be able to carry out urgent works to replace doors and install disabled ramps and double glazing.

The Cockpit Theatre will use its £5,000 grant to repair a leaky roof above the theatre’s dressing rooms, while New Diorama Theatre will gain additional office space in a converted storage container, which will be installed on the property.

Mackintosh, whose investment comes through the Mackintosh Foundation, said the grants would help solve the “urgent capital needs of London’s smaller theatres”.

“This is so important for the next generation of artists and audiences, and the continuing success of London’s theatre scene,” he added.

The scheme has also attracted support from Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Johnson said London’s fringe scene was “vital to its preeminence as a cultural capital on the world stage”.

“These awards will help ensure some of our key players can get on with their core business, which is to produce exciting work for the public to enjoy,” he added.

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