North Somerset arts organisation receives £1,024,968 funding from Arts Council England

Today (4 November) Arts Council England announced continued funding for North Somerset arts organisation, Theatre Orchard.

The £1,024,968 funding is for a three year period from April 2023 to April 2026. It represents an uplift of £750,000 to the previous National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) funding received by Theatre Orchard in 2018, when it became the first organisation in North Somerset to join Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.

The uplift funding is for place-based activity in Weston-super-Mare to build on the community programme that has been developed by initiative Culture Weston over the past two years, under the Theatre Orchard umbrella.  Theatre Orchard will also continue to work with communities and artists in North Somerset to facilitate the arts to thrive in the area. 

Fiona Matthews, creative director at Theatre Orchard, said: 

“We are delighted that Arts Council England has continued to support us as an NPO, and thrilled they have also offered us £750,000 an uplift of over the next three years – this is brilliant news for the arts in North Somerset and will be a huge boost to the region’s creative life and economy.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the funders, partners, artists and community members who have been at the heart of Theatre Orchard’s journey and helped to shape the organisation’s vision and delivery.

We are very proud of the work that has been achieved over the past four years of NPO funding and look forward to the next creative adventure.” 

The sustainability that NPO status provides means that Theatre Orchard can continue to develop an exciting live arts offer across a host of places and spaces around North Somerset, including free community and high profile events such as the award-winning Whirligig, the organisation’s annual, flagship outdoor arts festival.

The uplift in funding will be transformative in strengthening the creative placemaking already underway in Weston. Through Culture Weston, the organisation will continue to work in collaboration with multiple partners to develop the town’s creative and cultural offer with a year-round programme of live events, participation and community projects, many of which are free for all to enjoy. 

Tom Newman, Programme Manager at Culture Weston, said:

“The uplift funding will mean more local people shaping, creating and taking part in arts and culture and builds our mission to support the next generation of artists even further.

“It will also enable more collaborations with extraordinary artists – local, national and international – and communities to create unmissable, world-class cultural experiences that fire imaginations, expand horizons and continue to put Weston-super-Mare on the cultural map nationally and internationally.”