A Statement from the Chief Executive
The Actors Centre, the UK’s leading professional development organisation, supporting actors and creative talent throughout their careers, has today been awarded a grant as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF). On behalf of everyone at The Actors Centre, I wish to express my gratitude to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), HM Treasury and Arts Council England, for providing this lifeline at this most crucial time. This grant will help The Actors Centre to face the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic and help towards building a sustainable future for the organisation.
The Actors Centre is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England.
The Actors Centre, which is a registered charity, is not just a building. Since its inception in 1978, it has been a home for artists, offering a year-round programme of workshops, masterclasses and theatre. As Chief Executive, I am duly aware that there is a necessity for the organisation to evolve, to move in a new direction. With a new senior leadership team in place, these are the discussions we have been having since our closure in March. Every cultural organisation is now looking towards new ways of working and while the lockdown proved impossibly challenging, at The Actors Centre, we have been using this time to reimagine what the future of the organisation could look like. While there remains a long and difficult journey ahead, with a lot of work to be done, we welcome today’s funding announcement as the first step towards securing the organisation’s future.
Quite rightly, in recent weeks, there has been a furore about the question of viability in the cultural sector. Actors, writers, directors, producers, technicians, the list goes on. I want you to know you are all very much viable. We see you; we hear you; we thank you. However, we can all only be viable if we are allowed to work, to open. In the coming months at The Actors Centre, we look forward to supporting and continuing to work alongside the freelancers who exist as the beating heart of our sector.
This has been an inexorably difficult period for the entire cultural sector and at The Actors Centre, with the majority of our team furloughed, we have worked hard to deliver a consistent digital workshop and theatre programme since our closure in March. I also want to take this opportunity to say how incredibly proud I am of everything we have achieved during this time. In September, Gemma Lawrence’s Sunnymead Court, presented by Defibrillator in association with The Actors Centre, marked the first socially distanced theatre production back in the West End in over six months, playing to sold-out audiences for two weeks. Coming into a building filled with artists every day reminded us all why we do this job — the joy of artistic collaboration and of seeing a piece of new work come to life is an unmatched thrill. It reminded us of the tenacity of theatre, and this will fuel our vision for the future; giving us the strength to move forward and fight harder than ever before.
Today’s funding announcement does not mean that we are out of the woods, nor is it a time for complacency. The work continues, it accelerates, and we continue to do everything in our power to ensure The Actors Centre can survive. While The Actors Centre remains closed for 2020, our online programmes will continue during this period, with further announcements about our digital offerings to come in the proceeding weeks. Our fundraising appeal will also continue throughout this time and I want to say a sincere thank you to everyone who has donated, bought a workshop space, or purchased a theatre ticket to help support our organisation during the pandemic. Your kindness means more than words can ever express and we hope to see you all in-person at The Actors Centre in 2021.
Chief Executive, The Actors Centre
For further information or press enquiries, contact Jamie Tuohy, Marketing and Communications Manager at The Actors Centre, [email protected].
About The Actors Centre
Established in 1978, The Actors Centre is the UK’s leading professional development organisation, supporting actors and creative talent throughout their careers. Through an unrivalled programme of diverse workshops and masterclasses — led by distinguished practitioners from the worlds of theatre, film and television — The Actors Centre provides an essential space for artists to network, to share, to create, to thrive. We strive to programme an eclectic mix of original, evocative, diverse and challenging theatre that attracts a wide and varied audience.
At the core of our organisation is a commitment to supporting artists — offering opportunities to emerging, as well as established, artists and companies. Our flagship theatre space, the Tristan Bates Theatre, established in 1994, is a celebrated off-West End venue, presenting high quality, four week plays and musicals. Our smaller space, the John Thaw Studio promotes new writing and work-in-progress and allows artists to receive vital feedback on work currently in development. The John Thaw Studio is also home to the John Thaw Initiative, with each season tailored towards supporting a particular demographic of artist, or a particular theme of work.
About Arts Council England
Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. www.artscouncil.org.uk
Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of several bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund and unprecedented support package of £1.57 for the culture and heritage sector. Find out more at www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19
Back to articles