25 Organisations Granted Funding Reprieves???Date: 28 January 2008
This is the week that Arts Council England makes its final ‘who, what and how much’ decisions for its next three-year budget, which commences in April (See News, 17 Jan 2008). A report in yesterday’s Sunday Times suggests that many of ACE’s highly controversial recommendations – to cease funding of some 194 organisations and slash amounts to another 80 – will be overturned this week. ACE chief executive Sir Christopher Frayling told the newspaper that “it is not the decibel count which has influenced us, but reasoned argument”.
The Sunday Times speculates that 25 organisations will be granted a reprieve this week, with winners likely to include the Bush Theatre, Exeter Northcott and the National Student Drama Festival. Theatres and other arts groups were informed before Christmas that there subsidy was threatened and given five weeks to submit appeals; 126 did so by the 15 January deadline. Since then the nine regional arts councils have reviewed these. Their decisions will be discussed and ratified at a meeting of the national council tomorrow (29 January 2008).
An ACE spokesperson told Whatsonstage.com this morning that no final decisions have yet been taken. All organisations will be contacted after tomorrow’s meeting and a full funding announcement will be publicly made by ACE at 11.00am on Friday (1 February 2008).
Over the past six weeks, the outraged arts community has reacted to the proposed funding cuts with angry letters, street protests, massive petitions and online campaigning, an actors’ vote of no confidence, calls for a government inquiry and a war via newspaper headlines. National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner has described ACE’s handling of the situation as a “strategic catastrophe” (See News, 16 Jan 2008).