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National Theatre given £1m funding boost for touring work

National Theatre. Photo: Milan Gonda/Shutterstock
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Arts Council England has awarded the National Theatre £1.17 million to tour its work outside London.

The grant from ACE’s strategic touring fund will support a three-year programme that aims to diversify and increase theatre audiences.

This follows a 3% cut to the National Theatre’s national portfolio grant in ACE’s latest funding round, meaning the organisation will receive £517,000 less per year between 2018 and 2022 than it did before.

The strategic touring funding has been earmarked for work specifically outside London, something the National has been criticised for not doing enough of in the past.

Activity within the programme includes four main strands; large and mid-scale touring, community projects, an education programme featuring schools touring and an audience development research project.

Six local partners from areas of low arts engagement will work with the National, including Cast in Doncaster, the Lowry in Salford and the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch in the London borough of Havering.

The Empire Theatre and Fire Station in Sunderland will also be partners in the programme, along with the Theatre Royal in Wakefield and the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton.

This grant represents 40% of the projected cost of the three-year programme, with the Sackler Trust and Bloomberg Philanthropies also providing support. The National Theatre is continuing to fundraise for the programme.

Lisa Burger, executive director of the National Theatre, said: “We’re delighted to be able to green-light this ambitious new project, thanks to a grant from Arts Council England’s strategic touring fund.

“Reaching new audiences and supporting theatremaking across the country is one of the most important things we do.

“This three-year project will allow us to work with a range of partners for a sustained period, including smaller or new venues.”

Joyce Wilson, London area director for Arts Council England, added: “This significant touring programme will have real impact on the cultural landscape of our country.

“The different strands of work will not only inspire communities, but leave behind infrastructure upon which a local culture for both making and enjoying theatre can grow. In that way, the whole country benefits.”

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