Council 'exploring options' for Derby theatre replacement

12 Mar 2020

Derby City Council is "exploring options" for a semi-permanent theatre to replace a local venue in a bad state of repair.

Guildhall Theatre was closed in January 2019 due to problems with the auditorium ceiling. It was expected to reopen later in the year but was in such poor condition that repairs would have threatened its historic infrastructure. 

The council will decide whether to fund a 300 to 400 seat theatre while Guildhall is fixed in the coming weeks.

Councillor Robin Wood, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture, said: “At the moment the options are being explored to see what can be done and what is practical. There is strong desire to generate cultural activity in the centre of Derby and this option might help deliver that quickly.”

Budget 2020: What’s in it for the arts?

11 Mar 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed business rate cuts for small music venues and millions more pounds for arts education. But some say it’s not enough.

ACE warned of ‘structural problems’ with strategy

11 Mar 2020

Advocates hope the funder’s upcoming delivery plan will address concerns its strategy does not support communities’ involvement in decision making.

£288m concert hall will be ‘the Tate Modern for music’

11 Mar 2020

The proposed Centre for Music will operate without public subsidy after the Government decided it was too expensive. 

Theatre opens as 'new home' for Leeds City College students

11 Mar 2020

Local authority leaders are turning the lights on in a new theatre on the campus of Leeds City College.

The 200-seat Chroma Q theatre will be the "new home" of the college's School of Creative Arts and School of Social Science, as well as providing space for Leeds College of Music students.

The facility includes TV and media suites, photography and dance studios, a costume workshop, newsroom and gallery spaces.

It also has new recording studio facilities for music courses.

Craft businesses generate £5.9m

11 Mar 2020

Craft businesses working out of the studios of Cockpit Arts generated £5.9m in sales last year, the social enterprise says.

Independent crafts made "a surprisingly hefty contribution" to London's creative industries, with 147 jewellers, ceramacists, weavers and woodturners increasing their annual profit by 12%.

Cockpit Arts CEO Annie Warburton said a fifth of these makers are int the early stages of their careers and receive support from working alongside more established businesses. More than half the 147 businesses exported goods during 2019.

"It’s this mix – and the opportunities for peer support that it offers – that gives Cockpit makers the encouragement to take creative and business risks."

Northern Irish arts organisations earn more as grants fall

10 Mar 2020

Organisations visited more neighbourhoods, worked with more schools and made more money last year – but attendance is still precarious. 

£500k for York Theatre Royal upgrade

10 Mar 2020

York Theatre Royal will have new box office software, environmentally friendly lighting and better access for disabled people following a major upgrade.

City of York Council has agreed to put £500,000 towards the works over the next four years. Councillor Darryl Smalley said the theatre "plays a significant role in contributing to the diversity of York’s economy and the wellbeing of residents".

"The decision session will set out how the council and York Theatre Royal will work together in the future, from strengthening the local economy, increasing opportunities for young people and importantly ensuring value for money."

Creative Scotland accused of 'central belt bias'

10 Mar 2020

Creative Scotland has been accused of a "central belt bias" after failing to create regional jobs.

A spokesperson said the funder supports the development of the arts across the country regardless of where its staff are based: "Our work helps others to create the conditions for jobs to be created."

Since 2014 it has filled 149 new jobs in arts, cinema and the creative industries. Of these, 132 were in Edinburgh and the rest in Glasgow.


North East region Conservative MSP Bill Bowman said this reflected a "central belt bias" among decision-makers.

"There is more to Scotland than Edinburgh and Glasgow, who seem to be doing just fine when it comes to promoting and developing arts and culture ... Dundee, meanwhile, is in a specific and vulnerable point in its development.

"The V&A just welcomed its millionth visitor through the doors ... but without any support to help the city and its surroundings find a voice, and this continuing central belt bias, it may be doomed to reflect the rest of the world rather than its home city."

Shell drops Southbank and BFI

10 Mar 2020

Oil company Shell will not renew its sponsorship of the BFI and Southbank Centre.

The long-running partnerships will come to an end this year amid growing debate over the ethics of fossil fuel company sponsorship in the arts. The BFI said this had been Shell's decision; Southbank Centre said the end to its 14-year-long partnership was mutually agreed.


The BFI recently declared a 'climate emergency' and pledged to amplify the voices of people affected by climate change.

Chris Garrard, Co-Director of campaign group Culture Unstained, said Shell should not be welcomed by arts institutions: "With mounting pressure from artists, workers and the public these partnerships have stopped helping Shell launder its image and instead shone a spotlight on its climate crashing activities."

Bristol concert arena approved

09 Mar 2020

Britsol City Council has given the green light to a new concert arena despite concerns it is too far out of town.

The plans still need approval from the Government and South Gloucestershire Council because part of the development crosses over authority's border.

Critics of the 17,000 capacity facility say it is too far out of Bristol and will create too much traffic. Councillor Mark Wright said the chosen location "is terrible for sustainability".

The main arena, a conference hall, shops, leisure facilities and other businesses will form an "entertainment complex" where Filton Airport's Brabazon Hangars are currently sited.



Domingo withdraws from Royal Opera House shows

09 Mar 2020

Opera singer Placido Domingo has withdrawn from planned performances at the Royal Opera House (ROH) in London.

The ROH said his withdrawl was "mutually agreed" following an investigation by an American performers' union that found Domingo had behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner towards women working in the industry.


On Tuesday, a separate investigation by Domingo's former employer Los Angeles Opera also found the allegations against him were credible.

An ROH spokesperson said: “We would like to confirm that we have received no claims of misconduct against Maestro Domingo during his time at the Royal Opera House and are sympathetic of his reasons for stepping down."


Partnership to 'add magic' to education in Manchester

09 Mar 2020

A new partnership to "add magic" to schools through creativity has launched in Manchester.

Manchester Cultural Education Partnership is a coalition of Manchester City Council, Young Manchester, The Whitworth, Z-arts and others to build on pilot programmes.


Thirteen new projects will take place during the launch week. Claremont Primary School students will receive a science lesson at The Whitworth and medieval history will be taught through dance at St Wilfrid's RC Primary School in Hulme.

Sectors push for arts policy ahead of Budget

06 Mar 2020

Arts sector associations are pushing their policy goals ahead of the new Budget, due to be announced next week.

Performers' union Equity is visiting Number 10 on Friday to press for support for the creative industries. As well as increased investment in the arts and arts education, Equity is asking for protections for the BBC and a European visa for creative professionals.


UK Music CEO Tom Keihl has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to emphasise the music industry's contribution to the economy and urge the Government to adopt the assocation's four-point plan to boost its growth: fiscal incentives, international trade support, shared parental leave for the self-employed and rehearsal rooms for young people in low-income areas.

A separate open letter asking the Government to reconsider its withdrawl from Creative Europe is being circulated online. It has already amassed several hundred signatures.  

Fund culture outside of London, inquiry says

05 Mar 2020

The Government must invest more heavily in arts and culture in the regions to tackle inequality, an independent inquiry has said.

An 18-month research project by the UK2070 Commission, a partnership between University College London, the University of Sheffiled, University of Manchester and Lincoln Institute of Land and Policy, found lack of a long-term regional policy for the UK is limiting the effectiveness of policies to tackle inequality.

READ MORE: UK must correct 'very strong London bias' in cultural provision

"Past policy, with few exceptions, has relied on short term, reactive, underfunded project bidding processes, with a perverse ‘policy’ environment which reinforces past areas of growth, rather than unlocking new areas with future potential."

Inequality will worsen if the historic concentration of spending in London and the South East is not addressed, the Commission says.

£8.6m boost for culture in Manchester

05 Mar 2020

Theatres, museums and festivals will share in an £8.6m boost to arts and creativity in the Greater Manchester region.

The investment in the Greater Manchester Culture Fund - a 23% increase on the £7m allocated in 2018 - will benefit 35 cultural organisations across 10 boroughs. For the first time this year, literature and carnival arts organisations have received grants alongside museums, heritage, theatre, film, dance, music, and visual arts organisations.

The successful applicants include Manchester International Fesitval (MIF), HOME, Royal Exchange Theatre, Oldham Coliseum, Halle Orchestra and Manchester Pride.

£800k needed to save Welsh arts centre

05 Mar 2020

A Welsh arts centre needs £800,000 in renovations to save it from closure, Gwynedd Council has heard.

Council officers have recommended refurbishment, saying Neaudd Dwyfor's closure would cost nearly £400,000 and "lead to the loss of an important facility locally".

"Closing would detrimentally affect the town of Pwllheli and the area in terms of the economy and regeneration, and from an arts, cultural and linguistic viewpoint, " a council report said.

The centre needs to increase its earnings following compaints from the public about the quality of the premises and its programming.


£20m fund to make the arts ‘investment ready’

04 Mar 2020

The initiative builds on the success of two pilot programmes to promote a new approach to finance in the arts and cultural sectors. 

Three in four GPs support arts in healthcare, survey says

04 Mar 2020

Three in four (74%) of GPs believe the arts can make a "significant contribution" to preventative healthcare, a new survey says.

Social enterprise Aesop asked 1000 UK doctors about whether arts activities can prevent ill health and save the NHS money. Just over half (54%) said arts-based interventions can be a cost effective way to deliver primary care to the public.


Dr Michael Dixon, NHS England Clinical Champion for Social Prescribing said "this reveals a massive culture change in a very short time".

"It shows that my fellow GPs have quickly recognised the power of the arts to benefit patients, reduce calls on the NHS and stop the prescribing of ever more drugs."


£140m secured for Manchester creative campus

04 Mar 2020

Plans for the opening phase of a new creative arts campus in Manchester are under way after its developer secured £140m.

LTE Group has partnerned with Manchester College, the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and local authorities to create an education centre for the creative and digital industries. Manchester City Council has already approved a £27.6m loan for the redevelopment.

The 200,000 square foot facility will focus on the creative and performing arts and feature a theatre, film studios, music practice rooms and a photography studio.

The project aims to be completed in Juanuary 2022, with a second phase to develop additional teaching spaces to follow.


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