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Arts Council England announces four-year funding to merged Wiltshire arts organisation

Salisbury International Arts Festival, Salisbury Playhouse and Salisbury Arts Centre
27 June 2017

Arts Council England (ACE) has today announced its new set of National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) and has awarded Salisbury Playhouse £1,277,944 per year over four years. This funding supports current plans for the three arts organisations in Salisbury - Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury International Arts Festival and Salisbury Arts Centre - to merge, in order to create a dynamic, diverse and resilient arts offer for the people of Salisbury and Wiltshire.

Arts Council England’s NPO funding will see Wiltshire become home to one of the largest cross-arts organisations outside London and a major National Portfolio Organisation for Arts Council England.

Tim Crarer, Chair of the Trustees of Salisbury Playhouse, said: “This level of investment is a real vote of confidence from Arts Council England that Salisbury is delivering great art and culture for everyone. Building on the outstanding work of the Arts Centre, Festival and Playhouse, we look forward to offering an ever more ambitious and integrated programme for our current and new audiences.

“This bold strategic initiative of merging the three arts organisations is a flagship project for the Arts Council and will be an example to towns and cities across the country of how great art can bring huge economic and cultural benefits to an area.

“Arts Council England’s announcement allows us to move ahead with confidence as we create a pan-arts organisation in the South West that will fuse the year-round creation of new home-produced work with a thrilling programme of visiting companies and individuals, an annual international arts festival from 2019 and a packed programme of participatory and community projects.”

Phil Gibby, South West Area Director for ACE, said: “We are delighted to be awarding Salisbury Playhouse more than £5 million over the four years to transform Salisbury’s artistic offer. The joint assets and expertise of the three arts organisations in Salisbury - Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury International Arts Festival and Salisbury Arts Centre - will enable them to provide a top quality and cohesive arts programme throughout the year.

“This investment builds on the excellent work of the organisations over the previous three years and the significant backroom savings created through the merger will be reinvested in artistic activity, meaning more opportunities for Wiltshire’s audiences to be engaged and inspired.” 

Today’s announcement from Arts Council England will fund a four-year period from April 2018. Plans for the new organisation will be announced in the new year.