Winners & losers in funding stakes in the north west

David Upton

Following this week’s funding announcements from Arts Council England, The Lowry in Salford receives not only continued support as one of ACE’s national portfolio organisations, but also a £3m capital grant and its largest ever private donation, enabling the organisation to achieve its £5m capital funding target.

The Lowry was particularly pleased to announce the £1m donation from Andrew and Zoë Law of the Law Family Charitable Foundation: the largest in the organisation’s 14-year history. In recognition of their donation, the Main Gallery spaces at The Lowry will be renamed The Andrew and Zoë Law Galleries.

Andrew Law, who grew up in Manchester, and Zoë, who worked in the music industry there, are keen LS Lowry collectors. Together they established the Law Family Charitable Foundation to provide long-term support for worthwhile causes that are important to them. 

After their application for funding, the Everyman and Playhouse in Liverpool will continue to be part of the National Portfolio of organisations funded up to 2017/2018.

The theatres will receive £1,649,977 for each of the next three years, maintaining the funding they receive at its current level.

Theatre by the Lake in Keswick was breathing a sigh of relief, after ACE confirmed it will continue to fund the organisation until at least 2018. The theatre will continue to receive the same amount as it did in 2014/15—£604,067 per year—for the next three years.

Though it is publicly funded, the theatre receives much less public money than other organisations of a similar size—less than £2 of every £10 it spends. The rest is raised through ticket sales and other commercial activities.

Despite the good news, executive director Patric Gilchrist is keen to be realistic. “Of course we’re delighted with the announcement and grateful to ACE for the support they give us. However, this cash standstill actually means a cut in funding every year as inflation erodes the value of the grant,” he said.

Unity Theatre in Liverpool has also been included as a National Portfolio Organisation to receive funding from 2015 to 2018.

Artistic director Graeme Phillips said: "It is a proud moment. This inclusion shows a confidence in Unity and our future plans as a key arts organisation in the North West."

Manchester’s 24:7 Theatre Festival failed to obtain further NPO funding but in typically robust fashion the event’s David Slack says it is time to modify their approach “as there is now a freedom to put on a show whenever and wherever they like.

“24:7 now has opportunity to break into some other areas of development and establish potential collaborations that have been building up for some time. New theatre-making continues to be at the heart of it and being able to apply for specific project funding from the Arts Council—as indeed we used to—looks to be a better way forward for our vehicle.”

Burnley Youth Theatre has secured ongoing funding for the next three years. Its work with more than 600 children and young people in an area of low engagement with the arts has been recognised as contributing to the ACE goals of art and culture for everyone.

Action Transport Theatre in Ellesmere Port will receive £120,696 a year for the next three years to deliver a pioneering programme of work, "for, by and with young people". Each year, ATT reaches more than 22,000 young people as participants and audiences in Ellesmere Port and wider Cheshire, as well as 11,000 audiences regionally and nationally through touring work.