Islington's Almeida Theatre casualty of Arts Council cuts
By LiseS | Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 21:49
Over a thousand arts organisations up and down the country found out this morning whether they've been invited to join Arts Council England's new National Portfolio of organisations funded for three years. Islington's Almeida Theatre was one of the unlucky organisations to have its regular funding cut - from £1m this year to £700,000 in 2015.
"Once more unto the breach, dear friends..." The Almeida will fight on, despite today's funding cut.
The 39% cut in real terms (factoring in inflation estimated in October) means the Almeida is among the worst-hit of UK organisations to retain any kind of regular funding, despite critical acclaim for productions such as David Eldridge’s The Knot of the
1,333 artists, touring conpanies, venues and arts agencies applied for the new National Portfolio funding, which comes into effect next April. The previous portfolio of 849 Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) was reduced today to just 695, with 110 new organisations joining the portfolio and 206 organisations losing all funding. Local companies facing a 100% cut include Nitro theatre company on Caledonian Road, and Finsbury-based national dance advocacy body DanceUK.
The running costs of the Almeida are currently given at £3.9m per annum, of which the theatre raises £1.2m from individuals, trusts and companies. That figure will have to increase if the venue is to continue programming and producing excellent work.
Despite today's reduction in funding, the Almeida team remain optimistic for the future. "The Arts Council, today described the Almeida Theatre as 'an exemplary
organisation, internationally synonymous with bold play choices staged
to the highest possible standards with outstanding production values'," said Artistic Director Michael Attenborough in a statement earlier.
"There will be no
cuts to our innovative artistic policy or to our ambitions. In the
coming years we will take our work to more people than ever before and
continue to be a leading national cultural institution."
Actress Desara Bosnja added on Twitter: "You can cut our funding but not our passion!" Wise words, we think.
Should the arts in England be funded by public subsidy? Hear what Kenneth Tharp, Chief Executive of The Place in Euston had to say on Channel 4 News tonight here.