Many U.K. Arts Organizations, Including National Theatre, to Lose Public Funding | Playbill

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International News Many U.K. Arts Organizations, Including National Theatre, to Lose Public Funding

Arts Council England recently unveiled an investment plan which includes cuts for many London-based companies.

National Theatre Aurelien Guichard

Arts Council England unveiled on November 4 its investment program for the next three years, a plan that will change funding for many performing arts venues. Among the companies with planned funding cuts are the National Theatre, which will lose over £850,000; the Royal Opera House, which will lose nearly £3 million; and the Donmar Warehouse, which will lose its entire grant of over £500,000, according to the BBC.

The shakeup in funding is part of an effort to redistribute arts funding toward areas outside of London. According to Arts Council England's Director of Music Claire Mera-Nelson, in a statement posted to the Arts Council England website November 10, "the government increased our funding at the recent Spending Review to benefit areas outside London, and at the same time instructed us to increase investment in the rest of the country by £24 million per annum by 2026. This has meant we have had to make some difficult decisions, particularly in London."

Some companies based outside of London, such as English Touring Opera, will see an increase in their investment, although other such companies, such as Glyndebourne and Welsh National Opera, which also received funding for their touring, will lose money. Still other companies, such as Shakespeare North Playhouse, and the Buxton Opera House, home to the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, will receive funding for the first time.

English National Opera, as a result of the change in funding, has begun to look at moving its headquarters outside of London, "potentially in Manchester," according to a statement put out by the company, which will lose its £12.6 million annual grant, and will instead receive £17 million over the next three years—a net loss of approximately £7 million per year.

As reported by the BBC, Sam Mendes, founding artistic director of the newly-defunded Donmar Warehouse, called the move "short-sighted." Rufus Norris and Kate Varah of the National Theatre said in a statement published on the company's website "while a reduction to our ACE funding will present challenges, we remain committed to creating and sharing outstanding live and digital theatre with audiences nationally and globally."

The full 2023-2026 investment plan can be viewed on Arts Council England's website.

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