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Red Ladder secures grant to tackle working class ‘under-representation’ in theatre

Red Ladder's production of The Damned United. Photo: Malcolm Johnson

Red Ladder Theatre Company has been awarded £36,000 to tackle the industry’s under-representation of people from working class backgrounds in the north of England.

Part of the grant, from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, will go towards a community skills development programme.

The programme will help participating venues develop skills and resources to put together cultural programmes for their communities. This includes receiving mentoring from Red Ladder and from three venues: the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Civic in Barnsley and the Cast in Doncaster.

Red Ladder will be using the funding to expand its Northern Social Circuit programme, which addresses the under-representation of those from working class backgrounds in theatre.

The grant will support the programme over two years and follows previous funding from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, given when the company set up the Northern Social Circuit in 2016.

Red Ladder will continue to produce new work under the header Red Ladder Local, taking commissioned or specifically adapted writing by national and Yorkshire-based writers into non-traditional venues such as football and rugby clubs, pubs and working men’s clubs.

Chris Lloyd, producer at Red Ladder, said: “We’re delighted this grant from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation will allow us to further Red Ladder Local as a body of work that takes new plays into non-theatre venues; removing barriers that can prevent people from accessing theatre – whether that’s pricing, location or perception of who theatre is for.

“An important facet of the award is allowing non-traditional venues to select work of their choice, so in addition to picking from Red Ladder’s body of work, they will develop the skills and resources to curate cultural programmes for their own communities.”

Moira Sinclair, chief executive of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation said: “The skills development programme complements the work that Red Ladder Theatre Company is doing to open up the arts in the North. We hope that by strengthening the support for local people to be linked to local venues, more communities will not only feel involved in the work, but be a part of it.”