The Everyman, Playhouse and Unity theatres will each receive a slice of the £6.2million arts funding Liverpool City Council is making available over the next two years.

Following an executive board meeting yesterday, the three theatres were given the news of the council’s plans to maintain Capital of Culture funding levels until April 2011.

All three theatres qualify as a ‘Cultural Driver’ for Liverpool along with art organisations including the FACT Centre, Bluecoat, Liverpool Biennial, and music institute Royal Philharmonic Hall Society. The DaDa Fest – an annual event featuring disability performance art – makes up the seven organisations being given a share of the £6.2million budget.

As well as these cultural drivers, a further 60 organisations separated into another two categories – ‘Cultural Contributors’ and ‘Grass Root Innovators’ – are to benefit after successfully applying through a new bidding process which has radically altered the council’s approach to the arts.

From this year the emphasis is on better for value for money for council tax payers, with the bids scrutinised on how arts organisations can support the city’s vision for culture and regeneration in return for the Council sponsoring individual and organisational creative genius.

The council’s budget for the arts is equivalent to an inflation busting 6% rise year on year from 2005/06 to 2010/11. The total budget available over two years is £8.45million.

Liverpool’s priority following European Capital of Culture 2008, which generated £800million for the regional economy and was hailed as the best ever programme, has been to consolidate the growth of the past five years. Overall the city council is investing £2million more in culture than before it established the Liverpool Culture Company in 2005.

Cllr Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said: “Liverpool’s cultural offer is internationally renowned and the dynamism and diversity that made ‘08 such a success has shone through in this process. I’m delighted we will be able to consolidate all the huge strides the city has made over the past five years through this new budget.

“To be able to maintain capital of culture funding levels should leave no one in any doubt of the council’s commitment to fostering a successful ‘08 legacy.”

Cllr Gary Millar, executive member for Enterprise and Tourism, added: “This investment by the people of Liverpool will help our cultural partners to deliver a programme befitting an internationally renowned city of culture.

“It also ensures the city capitalises on the increasingly rich and varied talent of our community to improve social and economic confidence and will enable our communities to explore and celebrate Liverpool’s Year of Environment with flair and style.

“Unlike many previous Capitals of Culture, the council is delivering new resources to provide continued opportunities and jobs for local people of all ages and abilities in the arts and cultural industries.”