Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Thanks George

George Osborne MP
Source HM Treasury
Open Government Licence

In his Spending review and autumn statement 2015 the Chancellor of the Exchequer made three funding announcements which should benefit the performing arts in general and dance in particular:
  • a £78 million capital investment in The Factory, Manchester plus £9 million per year revenue funding from 2018-2019;
  • a £4 million grant to the Birmingham Dance Hub; and 
  • support for the National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries at the Backstage Centre in Thurrock.
I have already discussed the Factory and its potential in The Factory begins to take Shape 26 Nov 2015 and Let's bring the Royal Ballet to The Factory Manchester 11 Dec 2014. Architects have been appointed and the first artist's impressions have been published in the Manchester Evening News. Work should start on the Quay Street site in the next few months. The location is particularly handy for Manchester's legal profession as it is not far from the Civil Justice Centre. It should be finished by 2018.

In Arts Council England’s analysis of its investment in large-scale opera and ballet which I mentioned in How Arts Council England supports Dance 10 Oct 2015 the Arts Council announced increased funding for Birmingham Royal Ballet. Although not expressed as a condition of the extra funding, the analysis added:
"We are proposing that, in addition, we ask the company to work with the City of Birmingham, Dance Xchange, the Hippodrome and other interested parties to make Birmingham into a regional dance centre, building a broad dance culture in the City, capable of increasing audiences and attracting and retaining talent in the city."
No specific announcement has been made as to the Birmingham Dance Hub unlike Leeds which published a consultancy brief for plans for a dance hub which should be delivered by January 2016. However, the Birmingham bub is likely to be based in the Hippodrome which houses Dance Xchange (DX). DX describes itself as
"a power house of dance with excellence, innovation, participation and inclusion at its heart – and, together with Birmingham Hippodrome and Birmingham Royal Ballet, is part of the largest dance partnership in Britain."
In its About Us page it refers to its performance programme, classes and its production facilities. It is safe to assume that Birmingham Royal Ballet and Elmhurst will be evolved and we look forward to hearing how the participants will use the Chancellor's £4 million.

The offer of support for the new National College for Creative and Cultural Industries is much vaguer than the other two projects and is said to subject to due diligence even though the plans for the College seem to be pretty advanced (see Jane Lambert National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries 7 Dec 2015 IP East). The College will be housed in the Backstage Centre where the Royal Opera House's production facilities are already located and it should receive its first students in September 2016 (see Creative and Cultural Trading Ltd.'s press release of 11 Dec 2015). The College will train the technical and management staff needed for ballet and the other performing arts.

Team Terpsichore will be watching all three projects like a hawk and will report any news on them and similar projects in other cities as and when it happens.

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