The Gate Theatre in Notting Hill will be celebrating more than its 30th birthday this week with the news that it has been awarded £254,000 from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation\'s Breakthrough Fund.

Joint artistic directors Natalie Abrahami and Carrie Cracknell have been gifted one of five grants from the fund, which was established in 2007 to support cultural entrepreneurs, both in their own professional development and that of the organisations they work for.

Judges praised this year’s winning applicants, selected from a shortlist of nominations from 14 industry experts, for their vision, drive and proven track records. Previous recipients in the field of theatre include Felix Barrett of Punchdrunk and David Jubb, formerly of Battersea Arts Centre.

In a joint response to the announcement, Abrahami and Cracknell said: “We are thrilled to have been offered such an extraordinary development opportunity at this stage in our careers as it will increase the scope and ambition of our programming at the Gate while enabling us to develop as directors in our own right.”

The pair first met in 2004 on the National Theatre Studio Directors’ Course. Bonding over a mutual interest in international theatre practice, they applied for joint artistic directorship of the Gate following the departure of Thea Sharrock in 2006.

Abrahami and Cracknell now plan to use the Breakthrough grant to fund two new positions of associate and assistant producer to mirror their own partnership. Their hope is to develop stronger relationships with regional and international companies, expanding the Gate’s work through touring, revivals, co-productions and site-specific productions beyond the boundaries of the existing 70-seater space

Acknowledging the commitment to experimental work which the grant represents, they said: “We can\'t wait to see what possibilities the next three years will hold.\"