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National Portfolio 2018-22: We’re investing over £283.6 million in the Midlands

Posted on 17 July 2017

Find out more about our 2018-22 National Portfolio where we'll invest over £283 million in 132 organisations, ensuring more people, in more places have access to great art and culture across the Midlands.

Welcome to the portfolio!

Through our 2018-22 National Portfolio we will invest over £283.6 million in 132 organisations across the Midlands, with 42 of these joining the portfolio for the first time.

It showcases a range of artforms, from theatre to dance, and visual arts to literature. We are also introducing libraries and museums to the portfolio.

Among those new to the portfolio, we’ll be supporting:
Culture, Learning and Libraries (Inspire), which will be the first library to join the Midlands portfolio. Our investment will support a range of theatre, visual arts and music activities for children under 5 and their families and for disabled young people in libraries across Nottingham.

One of 15 museums to join the Midlands portfolio is Leicester Museums Service (Leicester City Council). We’ll be supporting the five museums of the group, whose collections include archaeology, natural history, world cultures, local history and fine and decorative arts, including German Expressionism.

Our funding for independent literature and publishing organisation Nine Arches Press will support it to deliver a programme of talks, workshops and performances for the local community and at high profile events such as Ledbury Poetry Festival.

Showcasing theatrical arts, we’ll be investing in Vamos Theatre Company. Based in Worcester, this ‘full mask’ theatre company produces work which deals with strong social themes and is often created with significant input from community groups.

In addition to these companies which are new to our national portfolio, we have maintained our investment levels in the other 90 organisations in the portfolio, so there will be more investment than ever in arts and culture across the the Midlands.

Area Director, Peter Knott, said: "We’re delighted to unveil our ambitious new national portfolio which will reach more people in more places across the Midlands than ever before."

The Arts Council is investing more money outside London and we’re introducing 42 new organisations in the Midlands, including museums and libraries for the first time

Two performers in masks have a picnic on stage
Finding Joy by Vamos Theatre. Photo © Graeme Braidwood

More people, more places

The Midlands has an internationally recognised programme of art and culture and we are committed to maintaining this and making sure that more people across the region have the opportunity to take part in arts and culture.

From rural Herefordshire and Derbyshire to the cities of Stoke and Leicester, we’re providing arts and cultural funding to more touring and regional work. Rural Media Charity, a Hereford based organisation, will build on its current Random Acts programme and will produce a series of events inspired by the ‘unheard voices’ of rural Britain. Elsewhere, Bamboozle, a Leicester based theatre company, will produce touring shows with work specifically made for learning disabled children and young people and their families.

Our investment will better reflect the diversity of contemporary society, with new organisations adding to the cultural richness of the Midlands. These will include Birmingham LGBT, hosts of SHOUT, the LGBT arts festival, and Aakash Odedra Company, a diverse-led dance company with a focus on South Asian dance and a growing international reputation for excellent and innovative work.

Making sure children and young people have access to high quality cultural experiences is one of our priorities. We invest in a number of leading national specialist companies that produce work by and for children and young people including Baby People, Beatfreeks and The Spark Arts for Children.

A group of performers dressed as farmers interact with their audience on stage
Meadow Land by Bamboozle. Photo: Martin Neeves

More money, more projects

Seventeen organisations have received increased funding so that they can reach more people with innovative projects.

ACE Dance and Music will create an educational programme for children and young people; Talking Birds Theatre Company will help disabled artists to produce new theatre based activity; and Voluntary Arts Network will work with community groups to produce an annual national event celebrating everyday creativity.

Other projects include educational programmes for disabled children and young people, more theatrical productions, new festivals, development of digital technology and an increase in national and international work.

The Midlands already boasts a vibrant cultural scene with an international reputation for excellence and we look forward to seeing more great art and culture being enjoyed by more audiences in more places. Area Director, Peter Knott 

A young woman dressed in orange performs at Leeds Carnival
ACE Dance and Music Youth Company performing at Leeds Carnival. Photo © Graeme Braidwood

Feeling inspired?

  • View the full list of organisations receiving National Portfolio funding here
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