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Arts Council England awards theatres and groups £4.6 million to aid diversity

Birmingham Rep, The Bush and Battersea Arts Centre will all benefit from the funding

Bush Theatre

Arts Council England (ACE) has awarded £4.6 million to theatres to help support diversity in the industry.

ACE has invested £2.1 million through its Sustained Theatre programme, which supports the creation and touring of plays by black and minority ethnic theatre makers, and £2.57 million through its Change Makers scheme, which is aimed at increasing the diversity of senior leaders in cultural organisations.

The theatres benefiting from the Sustained Theatre scheme are: Birmingham Repertory Theatre (in partnership with Talawa Theatre Company); The Bush Theatre; Eclipse Theatre; Tamasha Theatre; and Tiata Fahodzi.

Actor and writer Meera Syal said of The REP's investment: "This is such exciting news for audiences and actors, a chance to celebrate and showcase our best talent in some of our best theatres."

The organisations receiving additional funding through the Change Makers programme include: Battersea Arts Centre and Jess Thom; Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and James Rose; University of Cambridge Museums and Malavika Anderson; Manchester City Galleries and Fareda Khan; Royal & Derngate and The Core at Corby Cube.

On receiving the funding, Jess Thom, known for her comedy character 'Touretteshero', said: "I'm looking forward to making new work [at the Battersea Arts Centre] and creating a blueprint that supports our cultural spaces to be open, accessible and welcoming to all.

ACE's director for diversity, Abid Hussain said the twenty disabled and BME leaders receiving the money will have an "inspiring and transformational opportunity".

"[It gives] them the confidence and the experience to take their next step into a senior leadership role, helping to shape the future of our sector."