Arts Council England NPO funding decisions 2023-26

Arts Council England NPO funding decisions 2023-26

17:02: Sign off

Thanks so much for joining us for today’s announcements and coverage. We hope you’ve found it useful. Enjoy a restful weekend. Matt, Giverny and Jamie.

17.04: Who is out of ACE’s national portfolio?

English National Opera, Cheek by Jowl and Oldham Coliseum are among at least 31 theatre organisations that have been identified as no longer being part of the Arts Council’s national portfolio. 

17.01: Amanda Parker – NPO’s decisions rewarded diverse organisations, but was it enough?

NPO funding provided big wins for diverse organisations, says Amanda Parker as she looks at companies who received cuts, standstills or uplifts. But the question remains: was it enough?

17.00: BECTU raises concerns about workforce after cuts

Arts Council England’s NPO funding announcement has been described as “devastating” for London’s creative workforce by union BECTU, which has called for an urgent summit with impacted venues and the mayor of London. 

16:34 English National Ballet to rethink ‘levels of activity’ after NPO announcement

The English National Ballet received another round of funding from ACE for 2023 to 2026, but its amount has dropped from  £6.3 million to just over £6 million. 

Robert James from the ENB said: “In an extremely difficult economic climate, we are grateful to receive this funding offer from Arts Council England which represents a significant investment of public funding.”

James added: “We will now be taking time to review the implications of our funding offer from ACE and to develop our response to this. It will be important to consider the levels of activity we are able to deliver whilst ensuring the financial stability of the company. There will be a period of negotiation with Arts Council England before our revised activity plan is rolled out in April 2023.”

16.27: Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds secures NPO status

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds has secured NPO status, which sees it rejoin the portfolio for the first time in 11 years. Artistic director Owen Calvert Jones said: “Theatre Royal is delighted to join the National Portfolio. Our team worked so hard throughout the pandemic to ensure that people living in our communities continued to have access to arts and culture. We particularly focused on supporting schools with literacy, knowing the impact that Covid-19 had on children’s education. We are delighted that this work will be able to continue and grow thanks to NPO funding.”

16:20: Lyn Gardner – NPO cuts are brutal, but there’s life outside the portfolio

As the industry absorbs the announcement of the 2023-26 national portfolio, Lyn Gardner ponders the impact of funding on the theatre industry – and the UK as a whole – and counsels the ‘losers’ not to despair.

Read the column here.

16.11: Equity warns producers not to use cuts as excuse for low pay

Equity general secretary Paul W Fleming: “Cuts should not be used to unstuffy low pay offers, or the end of stable work for opera artists in particular.” He said “no tactic” was off the table in terms of supporting members.

16:04 Touretteshero joins the list of NPOS for 2023 to 2026

On the news of joining, Touretteshero said: “A lot to process & the news is very much still sinking in, but incredibly excited that Touretteshero will be joining Arts Council England’s National Portfolio. Great to see so many other great disabled-led organisations being supported too.”

16:02 Pegasus Opera Company joins list of NPOs 

Pegasus Opera Company, which champions underrepresented communities and talent from diverse backgrounds in the opera world, has been awarded £200,000 in annual funding for the 2023 to 2026 round of ACE funding.

Artistic director Alison Buchanan said: “I am thrilled that Pegasus has received NPO status from Arts Council England. This is a fulfilment of the dream of our founder Lloyd Newton. Since his passing we have worked tirelessly to be change makers in our industry: developing partnerships with opera companies, mentoring and supporting our artists, creating trailblazing concerts that celebrate the music of diverse composers, producing opera with diverse casts, orchestras and creatives. I am thankful to our family of singers, the Pegasus board and staff, and for everyone who has supported and helped us to continue Lloyd’s legacy.”

15:58: Cuts reveal government’s ‘disinterest’ in supporting the arts – Musicians’ Union

The Musicians’ Union has labelled the cuts to English National Opera and other organisations a “sad indictment” of the government’s “apparent disinterest” in supporting the arts.

Read the full story here. 

15.40: Editor’s View: Serious shake-up of arts funding

Editor Alistair Smith reflects on whether ACE’s decisions are in line with its strategy.

“My initial reaction is that the most surprising thing about the announcement is the degree to which the Arts Council has done what it said it was going to do.” 

Read the column here. 

15.35: Hope Mill Theatre ‘devastated’ by funding rejection

The Manchester-based venue said it had not been successful in securing funding in the latest round, and said this would have been “a lifeline to continue our growth, outreach and bringing high quality theatre to the North West”.

15.32: Arts centres report funding boosts

Annabel Turpin and Gavin Barlow, co-leads of Future Arts Centres said: “Today’s investment news is a clear sign arts centres are more highly valued than ever for their contribution to the country’s culture and communities. 58 local arts centres are now funded by Arts Council England as National Portfolio Organisations (up from 51), with a 16% overall cash increase to £19.6 million per year. Future Arts Centres is delighted with this recognition of arts centres’ work, and to be funded itself for the first time as a sector support organisation.”

15:28:  Theatre Albi cut from ACE funding 

Theatre Albi has responded to being cut from Arts Council England’s list of National Portfolio Organisation for the 2023 to 2026 round of funding.

Nikki Sved, Theatre Albi’s artistic director: “We were immensely disappointed to receive the news today that our Arts Council Funding, as a National Portfolio Organisation, will not be continuing after April 2023. We have been making powerful, imaginative work for all ages since 1982 and taking it to many of those in our communities who have little or no other access to professional live performance.”

Click here to read the full statement.

15:20: Opera emerges as biggest loser

Opera has emerged as the art form to suffer the heaviest cuts in the latest national portfolio funding round. English National Opera has completely lost its NPO funding, while three of the five largest reductions in funding were imposed on opera companies. Read the full story here.

14.45: Who’s up and who’s down?

We’ve looked at which companies have seen the biggest changes to their funding since the last NPO round. 

13.40: Gate Theatre responds to ‘devastating’ 100% cut

London’s Gate Theatre has labelled its 100% funding cut “devastating” for a venue that has “amplified otherwise unheard voices” for more than 40 years. New chair Shami Chakrabarti said that its loss of about £306,330 a year came just after the venue’s move to new premises in north London.

13.24: The funding decisions in numbers

We’ve crunched the numbers in relation to the latest funding round. 

12.51: SOLT and UK Theatre warn of ‘incredibly challenging’ times ahead

Hannah Essex, joint chief executive, said: “For many, today’s unwelcome news that they will not be offered funding, or offered less funding than hoped, will be incredibly challenging. Those organisations will be faced with some very tough decisions in the coming months. As theatres face a gruelling winter and crippling energy bills, even those who do receive funding won’t be able to achieve what they have in the past – creatively and as civic centres within their communities.”

12.25: ROH responds to 9% funding cut

“We learned today that our core Arts Council England grant will be cut by 9%, reducing from £24,471,000 to £22,268,584 per annum, with effect from April 2023.  
“We face significant financial challenges going forward, alongside our colleagues in the sector: sharply increased energy costs, rising inflation in material costs, and suppressed box office revenue as tourism recovers from the pandemic. This grant offer equates to a real terms cut of around £4.7m (19%) to our core funding, and comes on top of the 10% real terms cut we have experienced since 2017/18,” it said.

11.45: ACE boss Darren Henley explains funding choices

Writing exclusively for The Stage, Darren Henley has outlined why the Arts Council made the decisions announced today for the theatre sector.

“The speed at which we are making these changes may have been accelerated by the instruction we received from the government earlier this year, but our drive to shift the balance of our investment from London to the rest of England is nothing new,” he writes. Read his column here.

11.38: Hampstead responds to cut

“Hampstead Theatre is disappointed and saddened by Arts Council England’s decision to cut the theatre’s funding. We will now consider how best to ensure the future of a company which nurtures and supports so many writers and which has for so long been an essential part of British theatre. In the meantime, our current programme of new plays will continue as announced and we thank all our supporters for their ongoing commitment to our work,” said artistic director Roxana Silbert and executive producer Greg Ripley-Duggan.

11.35: Watermill Theatre responds to 100% cut

Paul Hart, artistic Director and chief executive and Claire Murray executive director of The Watermill, said: “We understand that difficult decisions have had to be made as part of the Investment Programme. Arts Council England’s decision not to offer NPO funding to the Watermill Theatre presents a significant challenge. However, we remain committed to serving our audiences and the communities of West Berkshire and to contributing to the UK’s thriving cultural ecology.

“We will now take some time to explore other funding options and partnerships that can enable us to continue our ambitious and exciting programmes on and off stage.”

11.31: London mayor hits out at funding decisions

Sadiq Khan said: “Many of our world-leading cultural organisations will be left devastated by this announcement of over £50 million worth of government cuts to London’s arts funding. These cuts could not have come at a worse time as arts organisations already face a triple whammy of spiralling operating costs, soaring energy bills, and the impact of both the pandemic and the cost of living crisis on audience figures.

“London’s cultural organisations contribute billions and power our capital’s economic comeback as well as the wider UK economy every year which is why they need continued investment. A strong London equals a strong UK that’s why I am urging the government to think again and reconsider the consequences of these detrimental cuts.”

11.27: London organisations relocate under Transfer Programme

Headlong and Paines Plough are among the organisations that are looking to relocate their headquarters outside of London as part of Arts Council England’s Transfer Programme.

The Transfer Programme was designed to move current and new National Portfolio Organisations outside of the capital by October 2024.

See a full list of performing arts organisations that are transferring outside of London here.

11.22 Donmar reacts to 100% cut

Sam Mendes, founding artistic director of the Donmar, said: “Cutting the Donmar’s funding is a short-sighted decision that will wreak long lasting damage on the wider industry. The Donmar has been at the heart of British theatre for three decades, and has a hard won legacy of punching well above its weight in both its ambition and reach. It is a world renowned and hugely influential theatre, and the UK cannot afford to put it at risk.”

Leading London-based organisations including the National Theatre, English National Opera, the Royal Opera House and the Donmar Warehouse have received significant cuts in the latest funding round from Arts Council England. The Donmar has been 100% cut, while ENO said it was now looking at creating a base outside of London.

10.08: Welcome

Hello, it’s deputy editor Matt Hemley here, with colleagues Giverny Masso and Jamie Body. The public announcement about today’s funding decisions will be updated here, as they’re announced. We’re already hearing that companies have been informed of their outcomes. Stay tuned for more details. And feel free to share any of your updates with us [email protected]. More soon…

10:00: Welcome to our NPO coverage

The Stage’s news team are ready and waiting for Arts Council England to deliver the news – stay here for all the latest updates. 

Arts Council England’s funding announcement was due to be announced on October 26, but was delayed until November 4. See the stories below for more about the delay. 

The Labour Party has written to the government demanding an explanation for the last-minute delay to Arts Council England’s investment programme, claiming the move “raised serious questions” about the arm’s-length nature of the funding body.

Arts Council England is set to reveal the next round of funding for national portfolio organisations on November 4, following a last-minute delay to the announcement. 

Arts Council England is delaying the announcement of its next funding round for national portfolio organisations, which was due to take place tomorrow, October 26.

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