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Arts Council England announces funding decisions and new National portfolio of arts organisations

Date: 30 Mar 2011 Region: London

Today, Arts Council England unveiled its new National portfolio of funded organisations, which will see theatres, galleries and other arts organisations in the London portfolio receiving £510.6 million in funding over three years from April 2012.

This follows the Arts Council’s landmark decision in 2010 to introduce a new funding system and an ambitious 10-year strategic framework for the arts in England, and takes into account a significant cut in the Arts Council’s budget from government.

Fewer organisations will be funded, but set in the context of the Arts Council’s 10-year vision for the arts, the aim is to fund organisations that will get great art to even more people and work collaboratively to make the most of the available funds.


  • A reduction of 14.9% in government funding means that Arts Council funding for 206 existing organisations across England ends and many good applications have been turned down

  • Touring receives major support with £18 million Lottery funds each year earmarked for National portfolio organisations

  • A further £10.5 million of Lottery money each year will support work with and for children and young people across the country

In London:

  • 250 National portfolio organisations in the capital replace the existing 277 supported through the regularly funded organisations programme

  • Investment maintained in world class venues presenting the best of UK and international artistic talent, despite reduced budgets

  • 34 newcomers to the London portfolio will engage even more people with original, high-quality artistic experiences

  • Investment in East London artists and venues ensures that the opportunity of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is seized with local communities

  • The London galleries in the National portfolio receive an overall 15% increase in recognition of their impact on and attraction for young Londoners

  • Sustained investment in London-based touring companies to ensure that excellent art reaches even more people across the country

  • Reduced funding means good applications in London were turned down

The application process for the new National portfolio began in November 2010 and the new portfolio will come into operation in April 2012.

The new portfolio has been shaped by the goals of the Arts Council’s new strategic framework – Achieving great art for everyone – and by the challenging economic backdrop of a 29.6% grant in aid (GIA) cut to the Arts Council’s 2011-2015 budget from government. 14.9% of this cut has been passed on to the budget for portfolio organisations.

Veronica Wadley, London Chair, said:

'Our investment in the arts is critical to London, a city where culture is a vital part of its DNA, the reason why people come to the capital to live, work and visit. And I am delighted that we can continue to give substantial funding to the biggest and best organisations in the capital as well as to the equally important small, innovative companies.

‘They create the very best in theatre, music, dance, literature and the visual arts and help make London the most exciting city in the world. We must ensure that the capital continues to be a draw for artists and for audiences nationally and internationally.'

Moira Sinclair, London Executive Director, added:

‘Our investment in the capital focuses on London’s unique role as a cultural world city, and as a national hub for artistic excellence and innovation. It also acknowledges that London has areas with some of the lowest levels of arts engagement in the country and – given it also has some of the best arts in the world – seeks to address this.

‘With reduced resources, we have had to make difficult decisions and regretfully there have been good organisations we have been unable to support; however we are confident that we now have a portfolio of organisations in London that will continue to inspire, entertain and challenge audiences across the capital and across the country.’

The London portfolio also welcomes 34 new organisations, some of which focus on engaging new audiences in innovative art programmes. These include the award-winning Streetwise Opera, which works with homeless people to develop high quality musical work; Entelechy Arts whose work has included the Big Chair Dance – a large-scale work for and by older people; and the Clod Ensemble who create projects in places where art does not usually happen like the award-winning Performing Medicine, which used the arts to help medical students to gain skills relevant to their clinical practice.

Arts Council investment also ensures that London-based touring companies can carry on producing high-quality work that can be seen across the country. Protein Dance is new to the portfolio in particular for its touring work; investment in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s touring work has been maintained; and there is increased support for touring theatre companies such as Frantic Assembly and Told by an Idiot.

In acknowledgement of the low levels of arts engagement and the opportunity offered by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in East London, there is additional investment across these London boroughs including an increase in funding for the Broadway Theatre in Barking and Stratford Circus to allow them to build on their artistic programmes. Ministry of Stories in Hoxton is new to the portfolio. Founded in the UK by author Nick Hornby (based on Dave Eggers’ idea in the US), it presents the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies shop where volunteer writers, artists and teachers provide young people with free workshops to develop young people’s literacy and creative writing skills.

The Barbican has had an increase in funding allowing it to work across all the Olympic boroughs, while the London Symphony Orchestra will continue its education work in some of the most deprived east London boroughs. Random Dance, led by choreographer Wayne McGregor, is planning to move to the Olympic Park in 2013 as part of the legacy of the 2012 Games and an increase in funding reflects this ambition.

The London galleries in the National portfolio will receive sustained investment, and in a number of cases increases, to allow these organisations to broaden their education and outreach programmes, and also to protect the important buildings that are part of London’s world-class reputation in visual arts. The South London Gallery, Chisenhale Gallery, Cubitt, Cafe Gallery, Matt’s Gallery, the Serpentine Gallery, the Whitechapel Gallery and Camden Arts Centre amongst others have increases, while a former garage in Elephant and Castle, now the Auto Italia gallery, is new to the portfolio, alongside The Drawing Room and Peer UK.

Experimental theatre remains a key investment to maintain the capital’s status as a theatre world leader. Coney, which created the critically acclaimed A Small Town Anywhere, is new to the portfolio, as is Blind Summit which creates new plays with puppets for adults and has recently worked with the National Theatre on ‘Greenland’. Punchdrunk receives an increase in funding and investment has been maintained in a number of groundbreaking organisations in this area, including Theatre de Complicite and Duckie. There is increased investment in some circus companies, including the award-winning Ockham’s Razor, Mimbre and Upswing.

Through the London portfolio, publisher Faber and Faber will be included for the first time for its Faber New Poets work, which identifies emerging poets to develop and offers the exclusive opportunity to have a pamphlet published by the company. Previously seed funded by the Arts Council, this scheme has seen eight individual publications selling on average 1,000 copies each – a figure which is significantly higher than most contemporary poetry publications. Forward Arts Foundation is also awarded portfolio funding for the first time, to bring poetry to new audiences, including through National Poetry Day which it organises.

The National portfolio is one of the ways in which the Arts Council supports artists and arts organisations. Unfortunately it has not been possible to support all the strong applications that were received, due to a reduction in the organisation’s budget from government. However, money will continue to be awarded through its Lottery-funded Grants for the arts programme to individual artists, smaller arts organisations and communities with great ideas. Other Lottery-funded programmes will be announced later in the year, and it is hoped that some unsuccessful applicants will be able to help the Arts Council achieve its goals with funding from these alternative sources.

A full list of portfolio organisations which will be funded in London from 2012-15 can be found here or see the table below.

An annual sum of £10.5 million Lottery funds has been set aside nationally for organisations that will provide a direct connection between the work produced by arts organisations and schools and communities in their area. This is work that is also particularly vulnerable at a time of public sector cuts. In London, this role will be taken on by A New Direction, working in partnership with Sadler’s Wells, Apples and Snakes, the Roundhouse and the Lyric Hammersmith.

All existing regularly funded organisations (RFOs) who were unsuccessful in their applications have 12 months of remaining Arts Council funding to allow them to explore alternative sources of support or adapt their business plans.

- - Ends -

Notes to Editors:

A full list of all the organisations included in the new National portfolio can be found here

How the budget works over the four-year settlement

Following the 29.6% real-term cut to the Arts Council’s GIA budget for 2011 to 2015, announced in the Government’s Spending Review, Arts Council England decided to limit the cut to the budget for funded organisations to 14.9% real terms (6.5% cash) over the four-year period. This 14.9% cut represents the impact on the spending power of organisations.

Lottery income, in contrast with the declining grant in aid from government, is projected to rise over the same period (by £5 million in 2011/12, £29 million in 2012/13, £7 million in 2013/14 and £2 million in 2014/15). This money will be used, in line with Lottery directions, to fund projects that are additional to core government spending. Together, National portfolio funding and Lottery income will be used to complement each other, ensuring that investment goes where it is most needed.

From April 2012, Lottery funding will be allocated against three areas, ‘Strategic’, ‘Capital’ and ‘Grants for the arts’, so that it can be used in the most targeted way. The National portfolio application process is Lottery compliant so that Lottery can be earmarked, where appropriate, to support the portfolio.


For 2011-12, the Arts Council delivered an across-the-board cut of 8.7% in real terms (6.9% cash) to the majority of its organisations, providing a quick decision so as to give time to plan (announced 25 October 2010). However, in order to minimise this cut, funding was stopped for the two largest non-arts producing organisations: Arts and Business and Creativity, Culture and Education (the latter following the decision to end the Creative Partnerships scheme), giving them a year’s notice on 50% funding. In the larger context of the 29.6% overall cut, the Arts Council also cut its Development funds by 64% and was asked to reduce its operating costs by a further 50% (to be implemented in 2013/14). The costs of administration are already low, standing at 3.4% using the current Charity Commission definitions.

2012-13 to 2014-15

2012-13 to 2014-15 will see a further real-term cut of 6.2% to the budget for funded organisations, and this is the starting point for the new National portfolio.

Strategic Lottery funds attached to the portfolio

In the past, an estimated £20 million of Lottery income a year was used to support the portfolio of organisations – either for transitional awards relating to major new buildings, or for repeated Grants for the arts awards as a means of extending the arts programme.

From April 2012, £18 million of Lottery income will be attached to the National portfolio and earmarked for touring. A particular focus will be on areas and communities across the country that have little or no access to high quality arts.

A further £10.5 million a year will be used to establish and fund 10 delivery organisations who will bridge the gap between arts organisations and schools and communities.

National portfolio organisations will no longer be eligible to apply for the Grants for the arts programme, which will give the small, the new, the community-driven and emerging artists a better chance of success.

Total investment picture

Strategic funds (budget £202 million)

The list of priority areas for the strategic Lottery fund, aligned against each goal in Achieving great art for everyone, includes: touring; audience development; children and young people: leadership and organisational development; digital innovation to broaden reach (building on the recent partnership announced with the BBC Academy); talent development; and philanthropy (a £50 million match-funding scheme has recently been announced).

The Arts Council will use these strategic funds in partnership with others, commissioning key development work from organisations on behalf of the sector (National portfolio organisations will be eligible), providing a shared approach to the delivery of these priorities, and helping to position the arts sector within the wider creative and commercial economies.

Capital programme (budget £200 million)

The capital programme will be focused primarily on maintaining the built infrastructure of the arts in England, and on the development and enhancement of existing facilities, including making galleries and venues more sustainable and energy efficient. There may be a few ambitious projects (there is currently an action research programme assessing the value of different approaches to capital investment) but we will not see the large-scale capital building programme that has been a feature of the last 15 years and that has had such a major regenerative effect on the landscape.

Grants for the arts (annual budget £48m)

The open-application Grants for the arts scheme, which is currently one of the best ways for exciting initiatives to get off the ground, will be extended and reserved for projects outside of the portfolio. As portfolio organisations are no longer eligible, it is estimated that £12 million a year will be freed up, making it readily responsive to new ideas, and to spotting and nurturing new talent. Some good organisations or artists’ companies who were unsuccessful in their portfolio bids may find that this is more suitable to what they were proposing as it is focused on specific projects.

Arts Council England

Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts. Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and a further £0.85 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

London National portfolio organisations

A New Direction

Acme Studios

Action Space London Events Ltd

Actors Touring Company


Akram Khan Company

Albert & Friends Instant Circus

Almeida Theatre Company Ltd

Alternative Theatre Company (The Bush)

Anvil Press Poetry Ltd

Apples and Snakes

Arcadia Books Ltd

Arcola Theatre Production Company

Art Monthly


Artichoke Trust Ltd



Arvon Foundation

Association of Dance of the African Diaspora

Attitude is Everything Ltd

Aurora Orchestra

Auto Italia

Autograph ABP

B3 Media

Barbican Centre

Battersea Arts Centre


Bermondsey Artists' Group (Cafe Gallery)

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

Bigga Fish Ltd

Blind Summit Education

Book Trust

Book Works

Bow Arts Trust

British Underground Ltd

British Youth Opera

Broadway Theatre, Barking

Bureau of Silly Ideas

Camden Arts Centre

Candoco Dance Company

Cardboard Citizens

Carnesky Productions Ltd

Carnival Village Trust

Cheek By Jowl Theatre Company Ltd

Children's Discovery Centre, East London

chipmunkapublishing limited

Chisenhale Gallery

Clean Break Theatre Company

Clod Ensemble

CM Ltd

Company of Angels

Coney Ltd

Contemporary Art Society

Contemporary Dance Trust

Continental Drifts

Crafts Council

Crying Out Loud

Cubitt Artists Ltd

Cultural Co-operation

Daily Life (Bobby Baker)

Dance Umbrella Ltd

Dash Arts

Deafinitely Theatre

Dedalus Ltd

Donmar Warehouse Projects Ltd

Drake Music


DV8 Physical Theatre

East London Dance

Eastside Educational Trust

Electra Productions Ltd

Elimu Carnival Club

Emergency Exit Arts


English Folk Dance And Song Society

English National Ballet

English National Opera Ltd

English PEN

English Stage Company Ltd (The Royal Court)

English Touring Opera

English Touring Theatre

Entelechy Arts Limited


Eye Music Trust

Faber and Faber Ltd

Fevered Sleep

Film and Video Umbrella

Film London


Forward Arts Foundation

Frantic Assembly

Free Word


Gate Theatre

George Piper Dances (Ballet Boyz)

Graeae Theatre Company

Greenwich & Docklands Festivals

Greenwich Dance Agency

Hackney Empire Ltd

Half Moon Young People's Theatre

Hampstead Theatre

Havering Theatre Trust (Queen's Theatre)

Headlong Theatre Ltd

Heart'n Soul

Home Live Art Ltd


Independent Street Arts Network

Index on Censorship

Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva)

Jacksons Lane

Jazz Services Ltd

Julie McNamara (Vital Xposure Limited)

Kali Theatre Company

Kapa Productions

Kazzum Arts Project

Kinetika Art Links International Ltd

Live Art Development Agency

London Arts in Health Forum

London International Festival of Theatre

London International Mime Festival

London Philharmonic Orchestra

London Print Studio Ltd

London Sinfonietta

London Symphony Orchestra


Lyric Theatre Hammersmith

Mahogany Community Ventures Ltd

Mandinga Arts

Masquerade 2000

Matt's Gallery

Mercury Musical Developments


Modern Masterpieces

Musiko Musika

National Federation of Music Societies (Making Music)

National Opera Studio

National Youth Theatre of Great Britain

NMC Recordings Ltd Studio


Ockham's Razor

Oily Cart Company

Orange Tree Theatre

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Out of Joint

Oval House

Paddington Arts

Paines Plough

Paraiso School Of Samba

Peer UK

People's Palace Projects

Perfect Pitch Musicals Ltd

Philharmonia Orchestra


Pioneer Theatres Ltd (Theatre Royal Stratford East)

Poems On The Underground

Poet In The City

Poetry London

Polka Theatre

Project Phakama UK

Protein Dance


Rambert Dance Company

Raw Material Music & Media

Redbridge Drama Centre

Resonance fm

Rich Mix

Ridiculusmus Theatre Company

Royal National Theatre

Royal Opera House

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Ltd

Sadler's Wells Trust Ltd

Serious Events Ltd

Serpentine Gallery

Shademakers Carnival Club

Shape London

Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company

Showroom Gallery Ltd

Siobhan Davies Dance

Small Green Shoots

Soho Theatre Company

Sound and Music


South Connections Ltd

South London Gallery

Southbank Centre Limited

Space Studios

Spare Tyre Theatre Company

Spitalfields Festival Ltd

Spread the Word


Stanley Picker Gallery

Stratford Circus Limited

Streetwise Opera

Studio 3 Arts

Studio Voltaire and Intoart

Survivors' Poetry

Tête à Tête Productions Ltd

Talawa Theatre Company

Tamasha Theatre Company Ltd


Tavaziva Dance Company

Thames Festival

The Albany

The Architecture Foundation

The Arts Catalyst

The Children's Bookshow

The Circus Space

The Drawing Room

The English Concert

The Literary Consultancy Ltd

The London Design Festival Limited

The Midi Music Company

The Ministry Of Stories

The Otolith Group

The Pacitti Company

The Photographers' Gallery

The Poetry School

The Poetry Society

The Poetry Translation Centre Ltd

The Reading Agency

The Red Room

The Roundhouse

The Wigmore Hall Trust

Theatre Centre

Theatre de Complicite Education Ltd

Theatre Peckham

Theatre-Rites Ltd

Third Text

Tiata Fahodzi Ltd

Told by an Idiot Ltd

Tomorrow's Warriors Ltd

Triangle Arts Trust

Tricycle Theatre Company

Unicorn Theatre for Children

University Of The Arts London (Artquest and Afterall)

UP Projects


Urban Development




Wayne McGregor | Random Dance

Whitechapel Gallery

Yaa Asantewaa Arts & Community Centre

Yaram Pursuits Ltd

Young Vic Company

For more information (media only) please contact :

Mathew Hanratty
Media Relations Officer, London
t:020 7973 5233

Louise Wylie
Director, Media Relations, Arts Council England
t:0207 973 5528
m:07912 998 955