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July 12th, 2017 | by Jennifer Edwards

National Theatre greenlights 3-year partnership project

In line with the National Theatre's continuing ambition to support theatre and reach new audiences across the country, they are delighted to announce that they have been awarded a grant of £1,166,408 from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring fund.

This grant will help fund a three-year programme to broaden and increase theatre audiences and productions, working with local partners in six areas of low arts engagement. Activity includes four main strands – large and mid-scale touring, sustained community projects and an extensive education programme including touring into schools, alongside an audience development research project.

The programme will take place with local partners in six key areas:

  • Doncaster, in partnership with Cast
  • The Greater Manchester metropolitan area in partnership with The Lowry, Salford
  • Outer East London with the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.
  • Sunderland, in partnership with the Empire Theatre and Fire Station
  • Wakefield, in partnership with the Theatre Royal
  • Wolverhampton with the Grand Theatre

As well as these venue partners, National Theatre will work closely with a wide range of partners including Bridge organisations and Cultural Education Partnerships.

This grant represents 40% of the projected cost of this three-year programme. Lisa Burger, Executive Director of the National Theatre, said: “We’re delighted to be able to greenlight this ambitious new project, thanks to a grant from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring fund.

National Theatre state that reaching new audiences and supporting theatre making across the country is one of the most important things they do, and that the three-year project allows them to work with a range of partners for a sustained period, including smaller or new venues. National Theatre hope to build a lasting local audience in partnership with these venues and organisations, through their combined expertise and resources, and deep community links.

Joyce Wilson, London Area Director, Arts Council England said:
"This significant touring programme will have real impact on the cultural landscape of our country. The different strands of work will not only inspire communities but leave behind infrastructure upon which a local culture for both making and enjoying theatre can grow. In that way, the whole country benefits."

Partner Statements

Deborah Rees, Director, CAST, said:
“Cast is very excited about the opportunity of partnering the National Theatre, developing and building the relationship through a number of approaches and strands of work. A flagship partnership with an organisation of national significance such as the NT will contribute to our aims in a number of ways through providing high-quality work and engagement programmes and contributing to improvements in how the town perceives itself and its level of aspiration.”

Julia Fawcett OBE, Chief Executive Officer, THE LOWRY, said:

“The Lowry is delighted to be working in partnership with the National Theatre to develop a sustained three-year collaboration across productions, work with schools and young people and audience development, including working in partnership to engage audiences in key areas of Greater Manchester.”

Douglas Rintoul, Artistic Director, QUEEN’S THEATRE HORNCHURCH, said:

"We're delighted to see the Arts Council fund a programme that supports touring to Outer East London, where there is a palpable sense not being connected to the inner London institutions. Through this partnership, our community will be afforded access to a major arts organisation that they may currently feel isn’t for or doesn’t reflect them. It supports our ambitions for excellence and it will be a game changer for all involved."

Helen Green, Director, THE FIRE STATION, said:
“I am absolutely thrilled that the National Theatre will be coming to work with Sunderland Culture. It is outside the means of a large percentage of our residents to travel to London, so to have the National come to us to work in our schools and our communities is very exciting. Our new, mid-scale theatre, The Fire Station, will open during the period of this partnership and we are excited to explore the many ways we can work together to enthuse and inspire audiences and emerging artists.”

Katie Town, Executive Director, THEATRE ROYAL WAKEFIELD, said:                     
“Theatre Royal Wakefield is delighted to be working with the National Theatre as a partner for their three-year strategic touring programme. Together we will increase access to theatre and offer unique opportunities for those least engaged with the arts. Wakefield has a significant number of excellent cultural organisations working hard to increase accessibility for everyone in the district and this programme will enable local young people to have a spectacular first experience of theatre.”

Tim Colegate, Producer & Programme Manager, WOLVERHAMPTON GRAND THEATRE, said:
“The opportunity for Wolverhampton Grand Theatre to form an affiliation with the National Theatre will enable us to make a further commitment to our audiences and strongly reinforce our continued efforts to offer consistent high-quality drama over the duration of the scheme. This, in turn, will grant us the ability to consider the future in terms of audience growth and sustainability in a way which we are usually unable to with the conventional ‘show-by-show’ method of programming.”