Suffolk and Essex arts companies land record Arts Council funding

The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK - Credit: Archant

Culture and heritage in Suffolk have been given a huge vote of confidence after the Arts Council unveiled long-term funding plans which will give just under £20m to organisations in the county deemed to be producing work of national significance.

DanceEast's Jerwood DanceHouse

DanceEast's Jerwood DanceHouse - Credit: Archant

The Arts Council awards funding on a four year basis, which allows companies to plan with security. In the past Suffolk has had eight long-term funded organisations (National Portfolio Organisations), under the latest funding awards this figure rises to 11.

This rise has been driven by the addition of museums and heritage into the funding mix. Suffolk will receive an extra £693,580 per year under this latest agreement.

The New Wolsey Theatre is one of the big winners after they were given an additional £83,076 per year to pay for a new programme of community outreach in Ipswich. Their current funding stands at £3,744,416.

Other leading arts companies having their long-term funding renewed include: Snape Maltings (formerly Aldeburgh Music) awarded £5,612,076, DanceEast, £3,240,612, The Robert Pacitti Company, £1,066,832, Eastern Angles Theatre Company, £881,608, Gecko Theatre, £881,608, HighTide Festival, £766,616.

From L-R: Sally Shaw (Director of Firstsite) councillor Tim Young (Deputy Leader, Colchester Borough

From L-R: Sally Shaw (Director of Firstsite) councillor Tim Young (Deputy Leader, Colchester Borough Council), Steve Mannix (Executive Director, Mercury Theatre Colchester), Anthony Roberts (Director, Colchester Arts Centre) celebrate the Arts Council England investment into Colchester's arts heritage. Photo credit: FIRSTSITE - Credit: Archant


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New additions to Suffolk’s NPO rosta include: Russell Maliphant Company, a national touring dance troupe based at the Jerwood DanceHouse, £996,000, National Horseracing Museum, £880,000, Colchester and Ipswich Museums, £797,000, Suffolk Libraries, £704,000 and Museum of East Anglian Life, £590,016. Between 2018 and 2022 Suffolk arts and heritage will receive a total of £19,363,784.

Arts and culture in north Essex has also received a major boost with Colchester Mercury Theatre, Firstsite Art Gallery and Colchester Arts Centre all having their long-term funding renewed. Across Essex 11 organisations will receive a total of £18,852,012 over the next four years.

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Leading organisations retaining their NPO status are: Colchester Mercury Theatre, who were awarded £3,109,512, Firstsite, £3,258,108, Creative & Cultural Skills, £1,914,800, Colchester Arts Centre, £762,780 with Essex Cultural Diversity Project being a new addition and awarded £600,000.

Hedley Swain, area director, for The Arts Council, said that they were looking to support companies that created high quality work but also reached out into the communities and encouraged cultural tourism which was becoming increasingly important part of our economy.

Projects at DanceEast have involved people of all ages with the venue recognised nationally for its

Projects at DanceEast have involved people of all ages with the venue recognised nationally for its exceptional work. Picture: ANTHONY TAPSELL - Credit: Archant

“Four new organisations will join the National Portfolio in Suffolk. From Museum of East Anglian Life’s collaborative work with local communities, through to Suffolk Libraries exciting plans to bring great art and culture to more rural communities across the county, or the National Horseracing Museums impressive collections, which tell the story of British Horseracing from the 17th century onwards, our investment will support some extraordinary work and reach many more people.”

Sarah Holmes, chief executive of the New Wolsey Theatre, said: “We’re thrilled to have received additional investment from the Arts Council. Community engagement is so important and has always been at the heart of our programming and this will allow us to develop further. This uplift will enable deeper involvement between the community and programming, to develop brand new digital work that extends our reach to new platforms, and to be able to tell our story through a digital archive for years to come.

“The landscape of the Ipswich community is constantly shifting, and we’re excited to be able to follow these changes using this investment.”

Robin Cantril-Fenwick, from the Mercury Theatre, said that they were delighted that the high quality work at the theatrew as being recognised. “It’s not just the theatre that has been recognised. The Arts Council will invest a total of £7.9m in Colchester-based arts organisations between 2018 and 2022. The Colchester Arts Centre, Firstsite and Mercury Theatre have all re-secured their places in the ‘National Portfolio.”

Pilgrims by Elinor Cook being performed at the HighTide festival. Picture: NOBBY CLARK

Pilgrims by Elinor Cook being performed at the HighTide festival. Picture: NOBBY CLARK - Credit: Archant

Brendan Keaney, artistic director of DanceEast, said: “We are delighted. It recognises the work we have been doing for many years both on the participatory side, the dance-classes and teaching we do, as well as the staging of world class performances. We are thrilled that one of our new associate companies Russell Malliphant has also been successful. It’s a great day for Suffolk.”

Sarah Holmes, chief executive, New Wolsey Theatre. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

Sarah Holmes, chief executive, New Wolsey Theatre. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK - Credit: Archant

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