Today Arts Council England announced its funding plans for the next three years for the group of arts organisations that make up its National Portfolio. While not being a disaster across the board, the news is a little grim. 75 percent of National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) have had no change in their funding and an increase has been given in less than 10 percent of cases.
Worse still, 37 organisations have suffered a reduction in funding. English National Opera is probably the most high profile organisation to have had its budget cut significantly (29 percent), from £17.2 million in 2014/15 to £12.4 million in 2015/16. But ENO has plans to focus on more commercial work, including musicals, for which the company will receive £7.6 million in ‘transitional funding’.
The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, run by its new artistic director Paul Miller from today, has lost its entire National Portfolio status, while north London’s Little Angel Theatre puppet theatre’s application to become an NPO was rejected. Other theatres, like the Unicorn in Southwark got a little more, while the National Theatre’s budget has been cut slightly – 3.6 percent down from 2014/15.
Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair Arts Council England said: ‘We are in the premier league of creative nations and this portfolio will keep us on top in an era of tight funding.’
Twitter was awash with words of support #NPO:
— Claire Harvey (@harv_claire) July 1, 2014
— Alice Clay (@AliceClay) July 1, 2014
— Joe Alessi (@alessismore64) July 1, 2014
Find out more at artscouncil.org.uk