Young Vic & Roundhouse Score Big in ACE FundingDate: 18 March 2005
The UK’s leading theatrical organisations breathed a sigh of relief today after yesterday’s publication of the new three-year spending plans for the Arts Council England (ACE), the country's development agency for the arts which has responsibility for distributing public money from Government and the National Lottery.
In the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Spending Review, published in December (See News, 14 Dec 2004), arts funding was frozen at £412 million per annum over the next three years. Taking a 2.7% rate of inflation into account, that equates to effectively a £30 million cut in subsidy over the period.
This week’s announcement lays out how ACE will split that standstill settlement amongst the more than 1,100 arts organisations that it funds. By cutting budgets to new programmes and Creative Partnerships for Young People and reducing the number of organisations it funds as well as freezing its own administration costs, ACE has succeeded in meeting an inflationary rise for 60% of organisations, while 20%, amongst them organisations undertaking major capital developments, benefit from larger increases.
In theatre terms, flagship institutions the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company have both held steady. The NT’s annual subsidy rises from £17, 261,000 in 2005/6 to £18,223,400 in 2007/8. Over the same period, the RSC goes from £14,000,000 to £14,780,600. Other leading playhouses that will continue to have their core costs met include the Almeida Theatre (£925,000 in 2005/6 to £976,575 in 2007/8), the Donmar Warehouse (£405,000 to £500,000) and Hampstead Theatre (£630,000 to £665,126).
Amongst the big winners in London are the Roundhouse and the Young Vic, both currently undergoing major refurbishments in anticipation of relaunches in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The Roundhouse benefits from a 25% rise, from £150,000 to £605,500, while the Young Vic receives a whopping 64% boost, from £956,000 to £1,471,368.
Commenting on the new budget, Sir Christopher Frayling, Chairman of Arts Council England, warned that standstill funding would ultimately prove unsustainable. He said: “The Arts Council has made some hard choices in a tough financial climate. We have acted responsibly to ensure a degree of budgetary stability for arts organisations. However, that stability is fragile and cannot be sustained beyond 2008. It is built on one-off flexibility and a reduction in other areas of our budget.
“While we are pleased to have been able to deliver increases in funding to the majority of our arts organisations, there are many things we have not been able to do. Many truly excellent artists and organisations will receive a standard increase rather than the investment needed to match their ambition and support growth.
”The arts contribute an enormous amount to the life of this country and to the economy. If there is not a better settlement in the 2006 Spending Review it will mean real cuts to more arts organisations. We must work together with our partners in the arts and in government to make the case for the arts as strongly and effectively as we can. We must begin that work now.”
- by Terri Paddock