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NPO 2017: Arts Council boosts diversity in new portfolio

Anton Cross Anton Cross in Anrinze Kene's Good Dog for Tiata Fahodzi. Photo: Wasi-Daniju
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The number of diverse-led organisations funded by Arts Council England has almost doubled in its latest funding round, as the body commits to making its portfolio more representative of contemporary society.

Existing national portfolio organisations with a focus on diversity, including Eclipse Theatre Company, Deafinitely Theatre and Tiata Fahodzi, all received significant uplifts in funding.

East Asian theatre company Yellow Earth joined the portfolio, having lost its funding in 2011, while other new additions included South West circus company Diverse City, which features both disabled and non-disabled performers.

Following the publication of ACE’s Creative Case for Diversity in 2015, the funding body had promised to improve the diversity of the organisations it supports.

In the previous portfolio ACE conceded that it had received a low number of applications from diverse-led organisations, in particular from those with a focus on disability.

Diverse-led organisations are those where 51% or more of the board of senior management team are black, Asian or minority ethnic, disabled, female or LGBT. Organisations can also self-define as diverse-led based on who is making their key strategic decisions.

In the new portfolio, announced today (June 27), 351 diverse-led organisations will be funded for the next four years, an increase of 168 on the previous number.

In total, 831 organisations will be funded for the 2018-2022 period.

This includes 96 BAME-led organisations, 35 disability-led organisations, 44 LGBT-led organisations and 257 female-led companies.

Among those are Bristol-based Paraorchestra, an orchestra for disabled musicians, Ballet Black, featuring dancers of black and Asian descent, and Disability Arts Online.

Tiata Fahodzi has received an uplift of 42%, Deafiniteily Theatre up 31% and Eclipse up 65%. Other existing NPOs that have had increases in funding include Stagetext, which creates theatre captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing and has seen a 23% increase, Talawa Theatre – up 18% – and Disability-led dance company Candoco, which has increased its funding by 12%.

London’s Bush and Tricycle Theatres, both led by BAME artistic directors, have also received increased subsidy.

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