Saturday, 2 February 2008

Nortcott Theatre gets lifeline

I have to admit that I'm not 'into' the theatre, opera or ballet (although the last two can have some wonderful music) which is one reason why this blog is notable for the absence of reviews of the arts. Admittedly one day I would like to attend a performance at the open air Minack Theatre but that would be purely because of the extraordinary venue. However as I am trying to record significant happenings in my two counties then it is appropriate to mention Exeter's Northcott Theatre right now.

Wind the clock back to December and we have 'The Northcott' reopening after a substantial refurbishment at a cost of £2.1 million. Much of this money came from the Arts Council. At about the same time as this reopening the Arts Council said they would withdraw their £500,000 plus funding per year that they give to this theatre. You couldn't make it up! This announcement led to a massive publicity campaign and over 26,000 signatory petition. The outcome I'm happy to say was an announcement yesterday that the Arts Council would maintain funding until 2011 with a proviso about future diversity of programming. If the cash hadn't been forthcoming then the theatre would have closed.

As I have already intimated the future of 'The Northcott' wouldn't have directly impinged on my life. Having said that I am passionate about the maintenance of cultural opportunities in our region for those that want them and am pleased about the decision.

Another plus from the deliberations of the Arts Council is the award of a minimum of £655,000 to the Dartington Hall Trust, not to be confused with the Dartington College of Arts which is due to move to Falmouth.

A good day for the Live Arts in my area!

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