City of Culture 2025 contest attracts explosion of interest

28 Jul 2021

Adding a seventh city to the longlist of bidders who will receive funding would allow more places to "complete their journey," an expert on the competition says.

Europe-wide project aims to create network of minority theatres

04 May 2017

(IN CROATIAN) Five minority theatres in Romania, Italy, Serbia, Albania and Croatia will combine to produce a play and a series of workshops in Spring 2018 using European Union funding.

New York opera security scare after powder sprinkled into orchestra pit

31 Oct 2016

The Metropolitan Opera cancelled a performance during the interval as a safety precaution after somebody sprinkled an unknown powder into the pit.

Library scoops £3,000 in the National Lottery Awards

25 Aug 2016

St Helens Libraries’ Cultural Hubs attracted over 2,000 votes to be named Best Arts Project for its work promoting health and wellbeing.

Project to survey Northumberland cultural audiences

28 Jul 2021

Eight cultural organisations in Northumberland are commissioning research into their audiences ahead of the next National Portfolio application process in January.

November Club, Museums Northumberland, Mortal Fools,
Queens Hall Arts, Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, Headway Arts, Alnwick Gardens and Maltings Berwick say their priority is to analyse future audiences: "We recognise that some investigation of existing audiences might be necessary to achieve this."

They want to know whether cultural habits are changing, how they can better access rural and deprived audiences, and where audiences are finding information about cultural events.

A tender also notes a need to "consider the word culture and what that means to audiences".

"We know that to many it means nothing."

For interested parties, the budget for the work is £10,000 to £13,000 and it must be completed by November.

War museum faces closure without new premises

28 Jul 2021

War Years Remembered, an independent museum in Northern Ireland, faces permanent closure unless it can find a new home.

The museum has fundraised more than £29,000 of its £50,000 target but still expects to have to leave its Ballyclare site.

It houses wartime artefacts, supports researchers, authors and documentarians, and aids community projects to address dementia and mental health.

As an unaccredited museum, War Years Remembered has been ineligible for much emergency funding over the past year. It lost all its annual income due to the lockdowns.

Its website says:

"Our long-term goal for War Years Remembered is to find a permanent home and seek accredited museum status. Our dream is to become a major attraction that will provide an enjoyable, interesting and educational experience to all who visit."

Music publishers launch diversity, equality and inclusion council

27 Jul 2021

The Music Publishers Association is launching a diversity, equality and inclusion council to "address the lack of executive Black talent" and other disparities in the music sector.

The DEI Council will meet quarterly to work on gaps outlined in the UK Music Diversity Report 2020, including better transparency around gender and ethnic pay gaps and increasing diverse representation in middle and senior management roles.

Music Publishers Association (MPA) Chair Roberto Neri said its board and membership approved the new council and the organisation is seeking "highly experienced and high-profile policy strategists and public influencers” to join.

MPA and nine other UK Music membership bodies have committed to the UK Music Diversity Taskforce’s Ten-Point Plan.

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: “There is a real determination and commitment across the music industry to quicken the pace of change when it comes to diversity and inclusion”.

Theatres and concert halls to reopen in Northern Ireland

27 Jul 2021

Stormont ministers have decided theatres and concert halls in Northern Ireland can reopen to indoor audiences.

The changes come into effect from 6pm today (27 July), after the initial decision was delayed from last week.

Entrance to performances will be ticket only and audiences must remain seated in their allocated space, with social distancing of one metre.

Audience members will be expected to wear face masks and only remove them to consume food and drink.

The new guidelines also applies to live music events, which can be held with no restrictions on volume.

Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan said the news is "fantastic" but called for a consistent approach across the four nations.

"With social distancing or capacity caps in place elsewhere... this is both confusing for audiences and an obstacle for touring productions."

MPs launch inquiry into National Lottery licence contest

27 Jul 2021

The DCMS Committee is concerned Camelot, the current Lottery operator, has not increased returns to the arts at the same rate as its rising profits.

Ministers consider capping admissions to ‘low value’ degrees

26 Jul 2021

Prospective creative arts students applicants may have to compete for fewer places as Government ministers consider capping admissions.

The Department for Education (DfE) plans to “curb costs and channel students towards courses ministers favour,” according to the i newspaper.

The policy could limit the number of students a university can enrol, or cap enrolments for subjects deemed low value.

READ MORE: Creative degree applications rise as university arts funding halved

“Changes are coming [and] we certainly don’t expect everyone to like them,” a DfE source added.

The proposal is part of a consultation on post-18 education, which also considers raising minimum entry requirements and lowering maximum tuition fees.

The DfE says it continues to consider the recommendations made by the Augar panel carefully.

Released in 2019, the Augar review suggested capping admissions on courses that “manifest poor value for money for students and the public”.

Cast Asian actors in traditionally White roles, guide suggests

26 Jul 2021

Casting artists of colour in roles traditionally played by White actors could “work to balance out [their] historical and current exclusion," according to British East and South-East Asians in Theatre and on Screen (BEATS).

The playing field for British East and South-East Asian artists is “not level”, a new colour-conscious casting guide says, highlighting access and opportunities in opera as “highly limited”.

Pan-Asian casting - casting people of the same ethnicity but of different Asian nationalities - is “generally acceptable” in the UK due to these actors historical exclusion from acting.

But make-up to make actors look more like a certain ethnicity is “never acceptable,” BEATS adds.

The guide advises opera companies should include Asian artists in creative teams and commission Asian composers in order to “have more nuanced understandings of East and South-East Asian race relations, history and culture”.

British Library launches £100k branding project

26 Jul 2021

A £100,000 contract to develop the name and brand of a single digital presence for UK libraries has gone live.

Open to all studios and designers, the British Library said it is looking for a team that will “raise and re-energise the profile of libraries”. 

“We’re looking for a creative partner who can help us bring to life the uniquely welcoming character of a local, high-street library in a digital space,” British Library chief librarian Liz Jolly said.

Funding is part of £3.4m grant pledged by Arts Council England in 2018 to provide a platform that local libraries can use to reach a national audience.

Applications are open until August 15.

Bristol Old Vic commits to socially distanced shows until March

26 Jul 2021

Bristol Old Vic will continue to host some socially distanced shows to cater for vulnerable people who need extra precautions.

The theatre has guaranteed two socially distanced performances of its long running shows each week until March 2022.

Mandatory mask-wearing will be enforced at these showings. It is one of the first theatres to promote a hybrid model of Covid safety restrictions.

Executive Director Charlotte Geeves said the decision was made as "public confidence varies widely".

“This theatre belongs to everyone, so we wanted to make sure everyone has the opportunity to return to the theatre in their own time and in a way that feels right to them."

£1m in grants saves Leicester arts venue expansion

26 Jul 2021

Leicester City Council has thrown a financial lifeline to Phoenix, one of the city's largest arts centres.

Covid-19 related disruption has left Leciester Arts Centre, the charity running the project, with increased contractor costs for its restoration.

The council offered £500,000 from resources it set aside to help the city’s recovery. Arts Council England matched the donation to bridge the £1m shortfall.

Work on the venue, including new cinema screens and a digital gallery, will start this summer.

"Phoenix is a vital part of the city’s cultural offer, and the increase in audiences and visitor numbers resulting from the work that needs to be carried out will enable the venue to be much more financially secure," said Councillor Piara Singh Clair.

France mandates vaccine passports for cultural venues

22 Jul 2021

Visitors to cultural venues in France now must show a health pass or negative PCR test from the last 48 hours to gain access.

The new rule applies to cinemas, art galleries, libraries and museums with a capacity of more than 50 people and is expected to extend to cafes, restaurants and trains in August. 

Legislation to formalise the system is being debated by the French government.

France has seen an uptick in scheduled vaccination appointments since President Emmanuel Macron implemented plans by decree. Four million appointments have been booked for August via online booking platform Doctolib.

46% of the population are now fully vaccinated, according to

Freedom Day? Arts organisations double down on restrictions amid vaccine passport U-turn

22 Jul 2021

Venues are pleading for leniency on isolation rules that threaten to derail their reopening, but audiences remain hesitant.

BBC Proms to reopen at full capacity

22 Jul 2021

BBC Proms will open at full capacity, with audiences encouraged to wear masks and Covid status certification checks on arrival.

To enter the Royal Albert Hall, patrons over the age of 18 must provide evidence of full vaccination via the NHS, a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of the performance, or proof of natural immunity via a positive PCR test result in the past six months.

"The safety of our audiences is our main priority and we are taking every step we can to open the Proms safely without social distancing," the BBC said.

The Proms opens on July 30 and runs until September 11.

Tickets will be available on the day of each concert priced for £6.

Liverpool stripped of UNESCO World Heritage city status

22 Jul 2021

Liverpool has lost its title as a UNESCO World Heritage city over an "irreversible loss of attributes" special to the area.

UNESCO said development of Liverpool's waterfront had detracted from its "outstanding universal value" and was "detrimental to the site's authenticity and integrity".

"Any deletion from the World Heritage List is a loss to the international community," the World Heritage Committee said.

Liverpool held world heritage status since 2004. UNESCO warned in 2012 that construction could lead to the accolade's removal.

The city is one of only three to have sites delisted. The others were the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman and Germany's Dresden Elbe Valley.


£34.9bn needed for UK creative industries to 'bounce back' by 2025

22 Jul 2021

New modelling from Oxford Economics says the country's creative sectors can more than recover from the loss of 100,000 jobs with the right investment.

Creative degree applications rise as university arts funding halved

22 Jul 2021

Confirmation of the higher arts education cuts comes as applications to study these subjects reach their highest level in a decade, placing the sector's talent pipeline at risk.


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