Theatre Royal secures Arts Council funding

THE THEATRE Royal breathed a sigh of relief this week after it was announced it would receive £360,000 of Arts Council England funding for the three years from April 2012.

In response to the government’s 2010 comprehensive spending review, which made significant cuts to the Arts Council’s budget, fewer arts organisations will receive funding.

The Arts Council considered 1,333 funding applications and the results were issued at 7.30am on Wednesday.

The Theatre Royal’s executive director, Colin Blumenau, said that he had been hopeful but was ‘relieved’ to hear the news.

It was his three-year plan for the Bury St Edmunds theatre which was presented to the Arts Council to secure the funding.

He said: “This is really excellent news for the charity and Bury St Edmunds. Our development of this theatre as a centre for excellence has been acknowledged. Our place as one of Suffolk’s creative leaders will be supported for the next four years. This will allow us to continue with creative work and the burgeoning work we are undertaking on education and training.”

This year the theatre received £127,000 from the Arts Council to support its £1.6 million turnover programme but Mr Blumenau said it was ‘too early to say’ what the impact of the £21,000 shortfall would be.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Suffolk County Council are yet to confirm their funding plans for the theatre.

“It’s quite difficult to understand what the implications of all of that are until we get the local authority news as well because that’s what’s important now, to make sure the two local authorities stay on board,” said Mr Blumenau.

On Monday, Simon Daykin will take over as new executive director of the theatre while Mr Blumenau will continue as artistic director, a role he has held for 14 years.

In Suffolk, seven organisations will benefit from more than £11.6 million of Arts Council funding from April 2012.

They are: Aldeburgh Music, DanceEast, the Eastern Angles Theatre Company, the Gecko Theatre, the HighTide Festival Theatre, the New Wolsey Theatre and the Theatre Royal.