Theatre Royal set to get funding from Arts Council England

Arts Council England (ACE) today (Friday, November 4) announced their National Portfolio Investment across England for 2023-26 with Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds to be recognised and supported with the funding.  

The theatre is the only working Regency theatre, one of only six Grade-I listed theatres in England, the only theatre in the National Trust’s portfolio and considered to be one of the cultural sector’s crown jewels.

Its programme is carefully curated to ensure they have something for everyone, whether it is cutting-edge contemporary theatre, traditional drama, dance, comedy, music spanning genres from classical to pop, or award-winning productions for children and young people. 

With this funding, Theatre Royal’s ambition is to further embed the voice of the community within all aspects of their offer, ensuring that their cultural and education programmes are designed with, by and for the people of Suffolk.

Theatre Royal would like to recognise and thank both the local authorities (West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council) as well as local businesses, the town council, communities and individuals for their long-standing support of Theatre Royal.

Its reliance on private sector funding from individuals and sponsors will continue. This support provides 18 per cent of their core annual costs. This additional funding from ACE will raise Theatre Royal’s ambitions even further and allow them to serve the audiences of Suffolk with the quality and scale of work they deserve.

The cultural and creative industries generate over £272 million for the region and contribute immeasurably to the visitor economy, community wellbeing, sense of identity and enjoyment of life at its every stage.

This additional funding from ACE will raise Theatre Royal’s ambitions even further and serve the audiences of Suffolk with the quality and scale of work they deserve.

Artistic director, Owen Calvert-Lyons, recognises that this funding benefits everyone in the region.

He said: “This support and funding from Arts Council England is brilliant news for our community, local residents, artists, visitors and organisations as it further enables us to transform the lives of local people through the power of the performing arts. 

“We believe that everyone, at all stages of their lives, regardless of background or personal circumstance, should have equal opportunity to engage in extraordinary cultural experiences and this funding allows us to extend this even further. Over the last five years we have reached over 300,000 people through our performing arts and creative learning offers. Our annual Doorstep Festival has toured high quality theatre to rural schools, this year reaching 3,389 primary and secondary school pupils.

“Our year-round Youth Theatre provides a creative education programme for young people aged  six to 22 from all backgrounds, particularly those who are learning disabled and neurodivergent through our SENsory Youth Theatre programme. Our Tiny Plays, BIG IDEAS programme, has taught 450 primary school children to write their first play.

“Through our close partnerships with specialist organisations such as Women’s Aid, Bury Drop-In, Suffolk Young Carers, GeeWizz, Mind, Age UK, The Mix in Stowmarket, the Benjamin Foundation in Thetford and The Hub in Mildenhall, we have specialised in working with vulnerable people to make their voices heard through performing arts. This is the lifeblood of our mission. At the same time, we are acutely aware of those who do outstanding work in the region but whose funding applications have not been successful and will therefore be facing an uncertain future.”

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