Third Angel theatre announces closure

Picture from a show called The Life & Loves of a Nobody, which toured in 2014, in which performers pull on some of the strings suspending white paper butterflies and they all bounce off and fall to the ground.
27 Feb 2023

Theatre company announces intention to close permanently later this year citing loss of Arts Council funding as a 'significant factor'.

Campaign to save 'devalued' arts subjects in schools launches

22 Feb 2023

A new campaign is calling on the government to protect arts and technology subjects in English secondary schools.

Jointly run by the Independent Society of Musicians and the Edge Foundation, #SaveOurSubjects has been launched in response to the dramatic drop in entries for arts subjects and a decline in funding for music, arts and cultural programmes in schools.

The campaign cites figures showing a 40% fall in GCSE arts entries between 2010 and 2022 – a decline largely attributed to the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) in 2010.

ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said: "The rate at which music and arts subjects are disappearing from our schools is both staggering and frightening.

"Students deserve to be taught a truly broad and balanced curriculum that gives them the skills for the 21st-century workplace."

The campaign wants the government to review the impact of school accountability measures including the EBacc, and to give students more freedom of choice at GCSE level.

It is also calling for a commitment to the Arts Premium promised in the Conservative Party's 2019 general election manifesto. 

Sheffield's Utopia Theatre launches youth academy

20 Feb 2023

A new theatre initiative in Sheffield hopes to provide opportunities for young people of African and Caribbean heritage in the city.

Utopia Theatre, an ACE National Portfolio Organisation formed in 2012, said its Youth Academy will run performing arts classes and workshops for children and young people aged nine–19, as well as providing mentoring and training in all aspects of theatre.

Using African oral storytelling and performance techniques, the academy will develop performing talent and offer career advice.

Utopia’s founder and director Mojisola Kareem-Elufowoju said this was “a pivotal moment” for the company.

She explained: “The launch of the academy responds to the inequalities and shortage of opportunities for black youths to pursue a career in the arts.

“Utopia Theatre provides a strong role model and has developed community partnerships over the last four years to address issues that affect the black community in Sheffield.

“This is an opportunity for our youth academy members to build their life and creative skills, starting a cycle of learners who are positively impacting each other’s lives.”

Utopia hopes to attract around 100 young people to the scheme. No acting or drama experience is needed to take part.

Free creative careers fairs for young people

08 Feb 2023

Young people considering working in the arts industry are being offered careers advice at two free events in the Midlands this month.

Organised by Shout Out for the Arts, the careers fairs, which will be open to 15-to 25-year-olds, will take place in Stratford-upon-Avon and Nuneaton.

Among the organisations offering careers guidance are BBC Apprentice Hub, Art Reach, Motionhouse, Royal Shakespeare Company, and the SAE Institute.

Arts professionals, artists and writers will also be on hand to answer young people’s questions about a career in the arts.

Event producer Amy Aylward said: “We want to encourage young people in their creative endeavours and to explore how to make a career out of their creativity.”

The events, which are part of a wider programme of activities funded by Arts Connect’s Partnership Investment Fund, take place on the 20 February in Nuneaton and the 23 February in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Apprenticeships in theatre making

A student learns how set and prop designers work at the RSC as part of RSC Next Generation, 2017.
07 Feb 2023

To mark National Apprenticeships Week, Pritti Shoker explores the role of apprenticeships in building a more inclusive, creative and diverse sector.

Bid for creative school in Bradford submitted to DfE

group of children celebrate Bradford winning UK City of Culture. they are jumping up and down, shouting, and holding banners saying 'our time, our place'
06 Feb 2023

Proposals submitted to establish a new school in Bradford offering 16 to 19 year olds specialist creative education.

Council plans to axe arts programme supporting wellbeing

31 Jan 2023

Plans to cut an arts programme and qualification that supports mental wellbeing have been criticised by a concerned parent.

Brighton and Hove City Council hopes to save £48,000 by scrapping the Arts Award scheme in its 2023/24 budget.

But mother Atlanta Cook has challenged the decision, arguing that the impact of lockdown on teenagers makes the programme more needed than ever.

If the council follows through with the cuts, her own daughter will be directly impacted.

Cook said: “We tried to get my daughter into college but haven’t been able to get her to go in. 

“The creative arts are the number one stream where they would get an education. This is it. There is nothing else.”

Cook added that lockdown had been particularly detrimental for teenagers who “had their 15th and 16th birthdays during this nightmare". 

The Arts Award programme can be studied at home and is accessed through the council's wellbeing services.

“It’s the only thing I’ve found in the last two years of trying to get my daughter into college," said Cook.

Scottish hip hop is making a breakthrough

Namebliss performs at Pitch Scotland's conference
31 Jan 2023

Arusa Qureshi had the good fortune to receive a music bursary as a child. She argues that such funding is vital to fostering unexpected creative paths.

Creative project will support survivors of child sexual abuse

Theatre maker Viv Gordon performs Cutting Out. Viv is sat at a table cutting out images with a pair of scissors. She is wearing a brown jump suit
26 Jan 2023

Project designed to give survivors a creative platform to share their experiences, rights and concerns, receives multi-year funding from the Home Office.

Rotherham Children’s Capital of Culture gets £275k boost

25 Jan 2023

Rotherham Council’s cabinet has agreed to allocate a further £275,000 of funding for Rotherham as Children’s Capital of Culture in 2025.

The money will complement £1.84m in funding awarded by the government’s Community Renewal Fund in 2021 to help establish a “Creative and Cultural Skills Embassy” linked to the event and additional funding from Arts Council England.

The Yorkshire town is planning to brand itself as the world’s first Children’s Capital of Culture as part of a cultural strategy highlighting Rotherham as “a place people want to visit, where everyone can enjoy Rotherham through the eyes, ears and actions of children and young people”.

The money will be used to finance the next stage of the project over the coming year, with the Children’s Capital of Culture team will partner with three cultural providers and work with local young people to “deliver a programme of creative and cultural events, festivals, experiences and opportunities across Rotherham”, according to a cabinet paper.

“The ultimate goal of Children’s Capital of Culture is to support more children and young people across the borough to create a bolder, more ambitious and creative future for themselves, increasing overall pride and aspiration in our borough and nurturing a skilled young workforce that can make a real difference to Rotherham’s future,” said Children’s Capital of Culture Programme Manager Sarah Christie.

Funding shortfall puts Margate art school at risk of closure

24 Jan 2023

The Margate School has announced it is at risk of closure due to a funding shortfall of £150,000. 

The independent postgraduate school of arts, established in 2018, is facing a financial dead-end after several failed attempts to secure funding. 

The set-up of the school and its technical facilities was funded by the Coastal Community Fund, which also financed the support of students, studio holders and the community for a period of two years.

The non-profit school was intended to subsequently generate 50% of its budget independently and secure the other 50% through public funding.

But the lack of anticipated public funding, coupled with the impact of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis on the school’s independent income, has resulted in an existential threat.  

The school’s Founder and Director, Uwe Derkson, said it operates on “an extremely lean budget,” funnelling any profits into community investment.

The Margate School is the only higher education provider on the Isle of Thanet. Its current community consists of nine members of staff, 25 students, 17 tutors, 12 fellows and 42 studio holders, as well as a team of volunteers. 

To ensure its survival, the school needs to raise £150,000 which it is seeking to do via a crowdfunding campaign. 

If successful, it will aim to triple the size of its community in the next 10 years by creating additional courses and increasing student numbers, Derksen said. He also pledged that the school would increase its share of independent income and decrease its reliance on public funding.

“The Margate School is a brilliant local creative space that holds a variety of events and caters to a diverse section of society. The sense of community loss is devastating,” said Thanet District Council councillor Rob Yates. 

The school attracts over 16,000 visitors to the area annually, thanks to its programme of exhibitions, talks and events.

UK’s largest museum collaboration plans to inspire children

24 Jan 2023

Around 500 museums will collaborate on project aimed at inspiring children to visit museums and create artworks responding to the UK’s biodiversity crisis.

Southbank Centre and Apple unveil plans to support Black creatives

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook visiting London's Southbank Centre
23 Jan 2023

Initiative to improve access to the arts for emerging Black creatives has announced details of residencies in London, Manchester, and Birmingham and plans to work with local schools.

National Youth Theatre to offer free auditions

18 Jan 2023

The National Youth Theatre (NYT) is to hold free auditions in five cities and online next month February.

The auditions will take place in Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, London and Manchester. Online auditions are via the National Youth Theatre Hub.

Successful applicants will be invited to take part in summer intake courses, which for the first time will also take place in cities around the country. 

Applications must be aged between 14 and 25 on the date the course starts. They will be asked to prepare a two-minute speech which could be from a published play, monologue book or film script.

The company will also offer be offering "backstage interviews" for young people interested in areas such as lighting, sound, stage management and costume.

NYT patron and alumnus Matt Smith said: "It's a great company and if you work hard, apply yourself and bring the right spirit, it's a place where you can really learn and develop, and a company that will nurture you."

Historic hospital secures £4.9m for restoration work

11 Jan 2023

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded £4.9m for the restoration of historic buildings at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

The work, which will be overseen by Barts Heritage will focus on conservation of the Great Hall and the Hogarth Stair, a staircase featuring two seven-foot-high canvasses painted by William Hogarth, depicting stories from the Bible.

The paintings require specialist cleaning and conservation, and the hall is also set to undergo extensive restoration work, including the repair and strengthening of the timber staircase and conservation work on an 18th Century chandelier. 

“We’re thrilled that our funding will be used to conserve these unique examples of Hogarth’s work and revitalise the stunning stair Hall for more and more people to appreciate and enjoy when visiting the historic buildings,” said Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive at The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The project includes an outreach component via a programme offering cultural and educational activities such as therapeutic artmaking courses, sensory heritage walking tours and mindfulness activities. 

Young people interested in heritage conservation can apply for placements, apprenticeships and volunteering roles.

Will Palin, Chief Executive of Barts Heritage said the project combines “the much-needed restoration of the one of the most important historic hospital buildings in the UK with a pioneering heritage and health programme”. 

“We are thrilled to have secured this transformative grant from the Heritage Fund and look forward to welcoming the public both during restoration works and after the project is complete,” he said.

Not all actors have to go to drama school

National Youth Theatre's production shot from 'GONE TOO FAR!'. There are two young men sitting in a trolley and a young women standing behind; they are all looking into the camera. Corner shop in the background.
11 Jan 2023

As the National Youth Theatre Rep Company approaches its 10th anniversary, its co-founder and Artistic Director Paul Roseby shares the joys and challenges of the last decade.

Gateshead’s Trinity Centre to undergo £1.4m redesign

10 Jan 2023

A former church in Gateshead is set to become a community and arts hub after restoration plans secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Gateway Studio, a dance and related arts charity, has received £1.4m in funding. The money will be used to acquire and restore the Trinity Centre, a Grade I-listed former church located on Gateshead High Street, one of town’s oldest sites.

Plans for the development of the building include the creation of studio perfromance space for open mic nights, acoustic sets and art exhibitions to showcase local talent, as well as office accommodation and a café.

Renovations are scheduled to be completed by September 2024.

“Dance and the arts are powerful tools in transforming individuals and communities,” Martin Hylton, Founder and Chief Executive of Gateway Studio, told the BBC.

“This new development will not only put Gateshead firmly on the map, in terms of developing and supporting professional artists, but will also help to transform the local community.”

Angela Douglas, Gateshead Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, said the new arts space was “an exciting and ambitious project”.

“As one of our only dedicated dance spaces in the borough, I'm sure the regeneration of the Trinity Centre will unlock their full potential,” she said.

National Portrait Gallery launches youth initiative with Raheem Sterling

14 Dec 2022

A charity established by England footballer Raheem Sterling has joined forces with the National Portrait Gallery to launch a creative youth engagement and skills development programme.

The London-based programme, called "Making of Me", aims to raise the career aspirations of 30 young people who want to express themselves creatively. 

Participants will be invited to take part in a series of 12 workshops and masterclasses, working with photographers, filmmakers and digital producers to create artworks exploring self-identity, representation, place and community.

They will be encouraged to take inspiration from portraits in the National Gallery’s collection.

The initiative aims to foster a sense of community and belonging among participants, while equipping them with a variety of skills and arming them with the knowledge needed to forge creative careers.

It is part of the National Gallery’s Inspiring People project, increasing the gallery’s reach during its closure. The programme will culminate in 2023, when the venue is set to reopen after major transformations to its building, with an exhibition of the participants’ work.

“Social mobility, education and employment make up the foundation’s three pillars and this project is a perfect fit for what we are aiming to achieve – helping to expand horizons, raise aspirations and create opportunities for the next generation,” said Clive Ellington, Chair of Trustees for the Raheem Sterling Foundation.

Drama school to remain open thanks to crowdfunding

13 Dec 2022

READ College in Reading has been saved from closure after raising £40,000 to help pay for the building’s running costs.

The funds were raised by a crowdfunding campaign after the college, based in a Grade II listed Victorian church building, was unable to keep pace with increasing costs, including rising energy prices. 

READ’s Artistic Director Clara Vaughan, said that the risk of closure was prompted by the cost-of-living crisis, the pandemic and a loss of ability to host international students.

“It was extremely difficult for us to put out the call for help. It felt so scary and vulnerable to have to say we're in this position,” she told the BBC. “I don't think any of us were expecting quite the amount of support that we received.”

The money gifted by donors, several of whom work in the performing arts sector, will enable the college to continue offering classes in January. Its recovery plan includes two further phases.

“We have challenges ahead of us but we're a really strong team and we have a lot of energy and desire to solve those challenges,” Vaughan said.

Drama school 'faces closure in weeks'

02 Dec 2022

A drama school in Reading has warned that it will be forced to close by the end of the year if it cannot raise sufficient funds within the next 10 days.

In a statement published on its website, READ College, which has been operating for 15 years, said it is in financial trouble "due to the relentless cost-of-living crisis, our continuous recovery from Covid and the loss of our ability to host international students".

"READ College is facing a critical time," the statement said. 

"We have seen businesses and colleges close around us due to the rise in the cost of living and soaring energy prices, the nation is struggling and we now find ourselves in an unsustainable financial position."

It said that if sufficient funds are not raised by 12 December there will be "no choice but to close our doors at the end of this term".

It has launched a #SaveREADCollege campaign and is asking people to donate online.


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