South West

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

The South West is a region of contrasts, with a long history of producing world-class artists and cultural organisations, known for the strength of its theatre-making, for its artists and craftmakers, for leading digital and creative media practice and for the dazzling explosion of carnival and outdoor art each year.  

There is a vibrant year-long programme of art and culture that ranges from large-scale outdoor festivals to small neighbourhood projects, from theatres, producers and galleries with international reputations to those working with their local communities or behind the scenes to develop the talent of the future.

The South West is home to 80 National Portfolio Organisations, including one Bridge organisation, with an investment of £59.6 million. The South West has three Major Partner Museums with an investment of £9.3 million. Total 2015–18 investment in these programmes in the South West is £69.1 million. We also invest in artists and art organisations in the South West through Grants for the Arts, our open access funding programme for arts activities.

A man-made mechanical spider stands over a crowd.
Metamorphosis, Arcadia Bristol. Photo © Paul Box.

Find out more on future plans for development in the South West in our corporate plan

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Explore our work in the South West

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

Feel the fear with art installation

Hampshire-born artist Beth Davis-Hofbauer has created an immersive installation that she hopes will reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems.

ADP Riot Tour in Plymouth

A surreal model village experience arrives at Devonport Guildhall, the latest stop on a six-month national tour supported through Grants for the arts

Image of lady on circus ropes with man to the right on ladder scaffolding and lady in the background hula hooping with sunset light

Funding for integrated circus

An award from our Ambition for Excellence programme will support Extraordinary Bodies’ vision of becoming the national integrated circus company of the UK, based in the South West.

Image captions
Top left to bottom right: 1. Grass Men Bristol Biennial 2014. Photo © Ashley Peevor 2. Gecko Theatre: Institute. Photo © Richard Haughton 3. Nuffield Theatre's Merlin. Photograph © Luke MacGregor. 4. Phyllis aged 92. Image © Joe Low 5. No Credit Displaying 6. ADP McDonalds Drive Thru (c) Thomas Mayer 7. Extraordinary Bodies, Weighting in Southwark 2015. Photo © Richard Davenport 8. Dean Heritage Centre One Photograph: Eye Shut Photography 9. Preview of Dog Show at Radiant Gallery Photographer Lawrence Hyne 10. Carl Au in Bright Phoenix by Jeff Young at Liverpool Everyman. Photo © Jonathan Keenan for Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse. 11. Sampad South Asian Arts perform at the Birmingham Weekender 2015. Photo © Andrew Fox / Birmingham Weekender. 12. Public Address: The Soapbox Tour. Photo © Suzi Corker Photography / Apples and Snakes. 13. Hofesh Schecter rehearsal at UDance. Photo © Brian Slater. 14. Dot, Squiggle and Rest at Polka Theatre with Royal Opera House. Photo © Robert Workman / Polka Theatre.