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31 March 2011

Arts funding: winners and losers

Arts Council England announces its new funding plans after cuts to its budget.

By Aime Williams

Arts Council England yesterday revealed the effects of a 29.6 per cent government cut to arts funding. 638 organisations were denied any funding by the Council, with 206 of those having previously received funding from them. However, 110 organisations were granted funding by the Council for the first time.

Small theatres received a little extra funding: FUEL is up by 203.9 per cent, Ockham’s Raxor by 173.2 per cent, Punchdrunk by 141 per cent, Arcola by 100 per cent, the Barbican by 108 per cent and Theatre by the Lake in Keswick by 22 per cent. However, the Riverside Trust Hammersmith, lost almost half a million pounds, both the RSC and the National Theatre lost 15 per cent funding, and Shared Experience Theatre, Trestle Theatre Company and Northumberland Tourinc Company all suffered cuts. HighTide Festival Theatre, Birmingham’s live art Fierce festival and Manchester International Festival are all new recipients of Council funding, whilst both Northcott Theatre, Exeter and Forkbeard Fantasy, Bristol lost all of their funding.

British poetry suffered mixed fortunes. Salt Publishing, an independent poetry publishing house based in Cambridge, lost all funding while the Poetry Book Society, founded by TS Eliot in 1953, suffered a £111,000 loss. Poetry London, the literary magazine, was given a grant, as was English PEN, which works to “promote literature and human rights”. The Poetry Society was awarded £360,000 – up from £261,664.

Winners amongst art galleries included: South London Gallery, with funding up 107 per cent, and three galleries that are yet to open: FirstSite in Colchester (up 16.8 per cent), the Hepworth in Wakefield (up 7.7 per cent) and Turner Contemporary in Margate (up 9.8 per cent). A Middlesbrough gallery, Mima, had its funding increased by 143.8 per cent. Both Castlefield Gallery in Manchester, and Phoenix Arts in Leicester had funding totally withdrawn.

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Dance suffered significant cuts, though with increased funding going to a collection of small, regional operations. Dance Umbrella, based in central London, took a 43 per cent reduction, and the Cholmondeleys & Featherstonehaughs dance companies saw their funding completely cut.

Although the fledgling Tête à Tête opera gained funding for the first time, the Royal Opera House took a 15 per cent cut to their money.