The Arts Councils of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have introduced a flexible new approach to the funding of UK theatre, opera and ballet tours.
The new strategy, which is to take immediate effect, lifts the restriction which saw the four Arts Councils fund tours only within their own borders. The new agreement relaxes the rules for organisations touring small to mid-scale venues, and sees additional funding being made available to organisations touring large-scale venues. For 2001/2002 the Arts Councils of England and Scotland have allocated £600,000 and £120,000 respectively towards a joint fund for large-scale touring between England and Scotland, and 12 major companies from both sides of the border are eligible to apply for funding. In addition, the four UK Arts Councils have agreed that tours to small or mid-scale venues by funded organisations can use up to 15% of their touring budget for work in other UK countries. Keith Longmore, Communications Director for Birmingham Royal Ballet, said: ?BRB last appeared in Edinburgh in 1995 and had a huge success, and since then have been trying to return to develop its audience base. This funding will enable us to do that, and truly fulfil the company?s potential as a national touring company.?