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Four successful applicants in West Midlands for innovative digital arts service announced

  • Date: 1 March 2012
  • Area: Midlands
Royal Shakespeare Theatre auditorium with audience

Royal Shakespeare Theatre auditorium with audience. Credit: Peter Cook

Arts Council England and the BBC have announced the 53 successful applicants who will be creating hundreds of hours of original commissions for The Space.

The four West Midlands successful applicants are:  Birmingham Opera Company; DanceXchange, Birmingham; Royal Shakespeare Company; Multistory (West Bromwich)

This new experimental service, managed by Arts Council England and developed in partnership with the BBC, will launch in May and run till October this year. It will give organisations the opportunity to experiment and engage with new and existing audiences in a completely new and innovative digital environment.

The project is designed to build the digital skills and capability of the arts and cultural sector - currently only about four per cent of the hundreds of organisations funded by Arts Council England are creating and producing high quality digital content for a variety of platforms.

The Arts Council is committing up to £3.5 million to The Space from its recently created £20 million digital innovation fund, with 'in principle' grants ranging from £15,000 to £185,000.

The BBC is contributing to the partnership by developing the technological solutions and by providing ongoing support through mentoring, production, training and skills development, helping the UK's arts and cultural sector to make the most of the new and emerging digital opportunities.

The West Midlands projects are:

Birmingham Opera Company - A multi-media live performance of Stockhausen's Helicopter String Quartet, one of the greatest and most ambitious experimental music experiences of modern times.

DanceXchange, Birmingham - A 30-minute film in ten episodes which will capture the creation and performance of Spill - an inventive new site-specific dance commission made for children and families.  It will explore and adapt to different playground settings across the West Midlands. 

Royal Shakespeare Company -  WSF-TV - a unique five minute weekly insight into the making of the World Shakespeare Festival, which is also part of the Cultural Olympiad.  It will capture the story of the festival and reflect the creative process of an unprecedented collaboration between over 50 arts organisations, thousands of artists, plus students, teachers and amateur theatre makers from across the world. 

Multistory - A still image slideshow with accompanying audio from their Black Country Stories programme which is a major portrait gallery and archive about local life. It will also include new material.

Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Alan Davey, said:  "The Space is one of our most significant interventions of recent years and I'm delighted to be able to announce such exciting and imaginative contributions from artists and organisations."

Ros Robins, Arts Council England West Midlands Director, said: "The four successful applicants in our region represent the breadth and diversity of the arts in the West Midlands.  The projects are exciting and innovative, and will be accessible to huge audiences through digital technology."

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