Supporting theatre

Hand drawn iIllustration by Supermundane with lots of intricate lines and patterns

Theatre in England is vibrant and thriving, with a diverse range of artists and companies producing exciting and varied work.

Theatre companies represent the largest group in our current National Portfolio. They range from tiny fringe venues to large theatres with multiple performing spaces.

In 2014–15 we invested £178.3 million in theatre to fund producing venues, companies, touring and festivals, as well as individual artists and producers.

We want everyone to be able to enjoy theatre. We fund organisations across England and those that tour widely, as well as supporting high quality work for children, young people and their families. We're also developing new ways to make productions available digitally.

We hope to widen the understanding and appreciation of the many and varied kinds of theatre, which reflect our diverse and rich society.

Find out more

A woman in a showercap has buckets of water chucked over her.

Grants for the Arts

Individuals and organisations that make theatre can apply for this open funding programme

Latest news, blog posts and case studies

A young woman in a Create t-shirt holds a dance pose while performing on stage against a bright green backdrop

On culture and caring

Nicky Goulder on the impact of art and culture on young carers, and how creativity can helps us to step into someone else's shoes

New Shakespeare drama has world premiere

The shadowy relationship between William Shakespeare and the Earl of Southampton is explored in a compelling new drama having its world premiere at Nuffield Theatre in Southampton next week.

Close up face portrait photograph of 92 year old woman smiling

Play inspired by 90-year-olds

Some of Winchester’s oldest residents have shared their life stories to shape an unusual new theatre performance

Exterior shot of Dean Heritage Centre - an old building on the edge of a forest in front of a lake

Waving not drowning

John Orna-Ornstein blogs about how we’re investing in strategic thinking in museums through our Museum Resilience Fund

Woman holding up a feather with a photo of a WW1 soldier behind her

£382k awarded to theatre in the North

With the help of our Strategic Touring programme, theatre performances will be presented in pubs, sports clubs and other non-traditional venues in the North.

Image captions
Top left to bottom right: 1. Steven Elliot in Educating Rita at Oldham Coliseum Theatre. Photo © Joel C Fildes / Oldham Coliseum Theatre. 2. The Revenge of Mr Trout! by TongueTied Theatre. Photo © Kyle Davies / TongueTied Theatre. 3. Scattered by Motionhouse. Photo © Chris Nash / Motionhouse 4. Les Petits' Captin Flinn at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016 Photo © Richard Davenport 5. A young carer performs at Sadler’s Wells during inspired:arts. Photo © Alicia Clarke 6. Dedication - Shakespeare & Southampton 7. Phyllis aged 92. Image © Joe Low 8. Dean Heritage Centre. Photo © Eye Shut Photography 9. Rabbitskin and Wrong’un, part of Northern Social Circuit programme © Red Ladder Theatre Company 10. Land Speed Record Toys. Photo © Tom Wood / National Motor Museum 11. 'Transe Express' by Seachange Arts at the Out There International Festival of Circus and Street Arts, 2015. Photo © David Street / Streetview Marketing 12. Rifco Arts: Break the Floorboards @ Watford Palace Theatre, 2013. Photo © Manuel Harlan. 13. Daniel Copeland performs Joseph Coelho's Tree Child on the Spark Arts tour. Photo © Pamela Raith Photography / The Spark Arts 14. New Wolsey Youth Theatre's Through The Looking Glass. Photo © Mike Kwasniak 15. Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery. Photo © RAMM Exeter 16. Musiko Musika's ECCO Concert at Southbank Centre, February 2014. Photo © Harriet Armstrong / Musiko Musika. 17. Love is Enough: William Morris and Andy Warhol exhibition at Modern Art Oxford. Photo © Andy Keate