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A strategic framework for the arts

Read Great art and culture for everyone, our 10-year strategic framework for the arts, published November 2010.

National portfolio funding

Find out more about theatre and the National portfolio.

Theatre supported by the Arts Council includes work for specific audiences such as children or rural communities; theatres that serve their local audience and produce their own work; companies that focus on new writing, or devised work, or a particular artist; producers who champion individual artists or site specific work; companies that work within a particular cultural aesthetic; national companies such as the National Theatre and the RSC and much, much more.

We will support artists and organisations as they continue to challenge and experiment - with how they make work and how they reach audiences. In particular, we will champion artistic collaborations and ideas that increase opportunities for a wide range of artists and participants to experience the transformative powers of theatre.

We know that theatre is not created without taking risks and we will work alongside the sector to increase its ability to weather those risks - identifying new partners, markets and opportunities.

Theatre will contribute to our Great art and culture for everyone goals and priorities by:

  • creating opportunities for artistic collaborations that increase the diversity of work available to audiences
  • investing in the future of theatre by supporting professional development opportunities for artists and producers
  • increasing access to theatre through touring; encouraging producers and promoters to work together to broaden their programmes and reach new audiences. Propeller's relationship with the Touring Partnership is an example of a collaboration in which all parties benefit
  • exploiting the potential of digital technology, through broadcast such as NT Live, reaching audiences using social media (eg Hoi Polloi's Hugh Hughes) or making work such as Coney
  • continuing to make exciting work for children and young people, such as Bristol Old Vic's Swallows and Amazons and 20 Stories High's Ghost Boy, including young people in the programming and creation of work as York Theatre Royal did with Take Over
  • celebrating the role that theatres play in their communities and working to increase the range, quality and impact of the work they do

Theatre research and analysis

Arts Council England will be commissioning a piece of research into the production of, and attendance at theatre in England. The research will take into account theatre in its entirety, looking at funded and non-funded organisations, as well as for and not-for-profit so that we have a current understanding of the wider impact of the organisations we fund.

BOP Consulting and Graham Devlin Associates will be undertaking the research, supported by John Kieffer. BOP will be interviewing a range of experts from across the sector. You can also contribute to the research here.

Results from the research are expected to be published in July 2016.

Theatre tax relief for the subsidised sector

The Treasury's consultation, which set out details of a new corporation tax relief for theatre production, closed on 5 May and the feedback is now being analysed. This relief, which was set out in this year’s budget by the Chancellor, aims to support theatre production across the UK and particularly incentivise touring productions.

For more detail about the significance of the proposed tax relief and its impact on the Subsidised Sector, please see this eBulletin from Harbottle & Lewis.

Arts Council England will support a training programme for the industry which will be delivered by SOLT and UK Theatre in conjunction with the HMRC, once the consultation has concluded. This will offer practical advice on how to benefit from the new tax credit scheme, advising organisations on how they can benefit, outline the definitions, and detail eligible costs and time periods. 

Theatre careers in the UK

On Monday 10th June Arts Council England alongside Creative & Cultural Skills and Nesta published a report, Publicly Funded Arts as an R&D lab for the Creative Industries? A Survey of Theatre Careers in the UK , outlining the role talent nurtured in publicly funded theatre, plays in the success of commercial theatre and the wider creative industries.  

2012 links

Theatre is playing a major part in the Olympic celebrations across the country. World Stages and the World Shakespeare Festival will be showcasing international theatre alongside productions from our own artists.

Featured publication

Great art and culture for everyone

Great art and culture for everyone sets out a 10-year vision for the Arts Council, with five ambitious goals at its heart. Originally published in 2010, this ...

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