Arts Council England has lopped £2.5 million off the annual funding of four national companies – the National Theatre, Southbank Centre, Royal Opera House and Royal Shakespeare Company – in order to boost arts spending on smaller companies.
The ACE has increased the number of organisations it funds from 700 to 831.
So far, so good.
But the big-beast cuts amount to a pathetic lapse of responsibility. If the ACE needed £2.5 million – or £10 million – it should have taken the entire amount from the pointless, misdirected Southbank Centre, which has long been ripe for privatisation. Unfortunately, the ACE is simply unable to make a single, bold strategic decision.
The money taken from the Big Four will be invested in 22 new, small organisations in London and give 21 increases to existing London orgs. London funding as a whole is on standstill.
London’s £3m for the 22 new orgs plus 21 uplifts comes from ROH, Southbank and National, plus seven NPOs that have left the portfolio.
From the press release:
Today, (27 June 2017) Arts Council England has announced the 253 arts and culture organisations in London that will be part of its National Portfolio between 2018 and 2022.
Due to its commitment to move more funds outside of the capital, London received a standstill budget: the same amount per year as the current 2015-2018 funding period.
Despite this, we have been able to bring in 24 new organisations into the London National Portfolio for the first time, and award additional investment to 21 current National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs), reaching more people and places in the capital with great art and culture than ever before.
• A total budget of £161 million Grant in Aid and National Lottery will be invested in London for 253 organisations per year.
• Increased investment in 15 boroughs.
• An increase of more than £727,000 per year to six Outer London boroughs: Barking & Dagenham (£212,500, 169%), Brent (£138,355, 15%), Hounslow (£20,116, 20%), Haringey (£147,916, 25%), Newham (£127,000, 6%) and NPO investment in Bromley for the first time (£81,957). This totals more than £2.9 million over the full funding period (2018-22)
• The three boroughs with the lowest levels of engagement (Newham, Hounslow and Barking & Dagenham) will all benefit from increased investment.
• More than £64.9 million will be invested in diverse-led organisations per year.
• 20% of the London portfolio is committed to touring nationally or internationally
• Three museums and one library service will join the 72 museums and seven libraries across the country being integrated into the National Portfolio for the first time.
New entrants and additional investments were prioritised for new, small and/or diverse organisations which reflect and serve the community of modern London.
Shubbak Festival, the UK’s largest (biennial) festival of contemporary art and culture from across the Arab world will receive £85,000 per year. The 2019 festival will feature at least 50 events across 30 venues, at least 100 artists from both UK and Arab countries.
Three hip-hop organisations, ZooNation, Boy Blue Entertainment and Avant Garde Dance Company, will receive over £671,000 per year in recognition of hip-hop as an important contemporary artform with capacity to reach new audiences and combine cultures.
Three diverse-led theatre organisations, the Tricycle in Brent, the Bush in Hammersmith, and Talawa in Hackney will receive additional funding of £268,161 per year (a total investment of £7,460,420 over 2018-22). This significant and strategic boost to touring as well as produce theatres, will help overcome the barriers and challenges Black and minority ethnic theatre-makers encounter across the country, and have a substantial impact on the diversity of the whole sector.