National Theatre Announces ACE Grant To Deliver Three-Year Partnership Project

As part of our continuing ambition to support theatre and reach new audiences across the country, we are delighted to announce that the National Theatre has been awarded a grant of £1,166,408 from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring fund.

This grant will help fund a three-year programme to broaden and increase theatre audiences and productions, working with local partners in six areas of low arts engagement. Activity includes four main strands – large and mid-scale touring, sustained community projects and an extensive education programme including touring into schools, alongside an audience development research project.

The programme will take place with local partners in six key areas:

  • Doncaster, in partnership with Cast
  • The Greater Manchester metropolitan area in partnership with The Lowry, Salford
  • Outer East London with the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.
  • Sunderland, in partnership with the Empire Theatre and Fire Station
  • Wakefield, in partnership with the Theatre Royal
  • Wolverhampton with the Grand Theatre

As well as these venue partners, we will work closely with a wide range of partners including Bridge organisations and Cultural Education Partnerships.

This grant represents 40% of the projected cost of this three-year programme. We are enormously grateful for the generous support we have also received from The Sackler Trust and Bloomberg Philanthropies. We continue to fundraise to complete funding for this project.

Lisa Burger, Executive Director of the National Theatre, said:
“We’re delighted to be able to greenlight this ambitious new project, thanks to a grant from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring fund.

Reaching new audiences and supporting theatre making 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. We hope to build a lasting local audience in partnership with these venues and organisations, through our combined expertise and resources, and their deep community links.

We are so excited to be working with our partners, and look forward to developing our plans together in the coming months.”

Joyce Wilson, London Area Director, Arts Council England said:
“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.”

Partner Statements

Deborah Rees, Director, CAST, said:
“Cast is very excited about the opportunity of partnering the National Theatre, developing and building the relationship through a number of approaches and strands of work. A flagship partnership with an organisation of national significance such as the NT will contribute to our aims in a number of ways through providing high quality work and engagement programmes and contributing to improvements in how the town perceives itself and its level of aspiration.”

Julia Fawcett OBE, Chief Executive Officer, THE LOWRY, said:

“The Lowry is delighted to be working in partnership with the National Theatre to develop a sustained three-year collaboration across productions, work with schools and young people and audience development, including working in partnership to engage audiences in key areas of Greater Manchester.”

Douglas Rintoul, Artistic Director, QUEEN’S THEATRE HORNCHURCH, said:

“We’re delighted to see the Arts Council fund a programme that supports touring to Outer East London, where there is a palpable sense not being connected to the inner London institutions. Through this partnership our community will be afforded access to a major arts organisation that they may currently feel isn’t for or doesn’t reflect them. It supports our ambitions for excellence and it will be a game changer for all involved.”

Helen Green, Director, THE FIRE STATIONsaid:
“I am absolutely thrilled that the National Theatre will be coming to work with Sunderland Culture. It is outside the means of a large percentage of our residents to travel to London, so to have the National come to us to work in our schools and our communities is very exciting. Our new, mid-scale theatre, The Fire Station, will open during the period of this partnership and we are excited to explore the many ways we can work together to enthuse and inspire audiences and emerging artists.”

Katie Town, Executive Director, THEATRE ROYAL WAKEFIELD, said:
“Theatre Royal Wakefield is delighted to be working with the National Theatre as a partner for their three year strategic touring programme. Together we will increase access to theatre and offer unique opportunities for those least engaged with the arts. Wakefield has a significant number of excellent cultural organisations working hard to increase accessibility for everyone in the district and this programme will enable local young people to have a spectacular first experience of theatre.”

Tim Colegate, Producer & Programme Manager, WOLVERHAMPTON GRAND THEATRE, said:
“The opportunity for Wolverhampton Grand Theatre to form an affiliation with the National Theatre will enable us to make a further commitment to our audiences and strongly reinforce our continued efforts to offer consistent high-quality drama over the duration of the scheme. This in turn will grant us the ability to consider the future in terms of audience growth and sustainability in a way which we are usually unable to with the conventional ‘show-by-show’ method of programming.”

About Author /

Matthew has been writing for the past 5 years about music, sports and movies and has now finally got his chance to write about theatre. Having previously worked for the likes of Kerrang and Uncut, as well as previously having a radio show for 6 Towns, he has interviewed hundreds of bands throughout his career.

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