£250,000 grant for theatre a ‘huge vote of confidence in Peterborough’

A £250,000 grant from the Arts Council will allow Peterborough’s New Theatre to go ahead with a Summer Season reopening in August.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 5:29 pm
MP for Peterborough Paul Bristow at the New Theatre, Broadway with theatre director Richie Ross and Selladoor CEO David Hutchinson EMN-211005-150441009

A change in criteria surrounding the Government’s latest Cultural Recover Fund meant Selladoor-run New Theatre was ineligible - and a fresh approach to attracting a grant was needed, built around making the case for Peterborough and the importance of New Theatre on a local level and national touring theatre scale.

“We had to come up with the right mechanism to apply for a different funding round which would essentially allow us to do much of what we would have liked to do with CRF funding with a little more emphasis on audience development and wider participation,” said David Hutchinson, Selladoor CEO, who enlisted the help of Peterborough MP Paul Bristow and had the support of the city council.

“We managed to get that in to the Arts Council and we got the funding on Friday which was massively important to us. £250,000 is an exceptionally large amount - at the top end of the grants on offer. It is the difference between opening in a position of strength and stumbling into a new world and not being prepared.

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“It allows us to rebuild and develop the business for the next few months, to restrategise and reopen in August.”

David, who was full of praise for the support received in making the “compelling argument” to the Arts Council, described the grant as “a huge vote of confidence in the importance of having a first class theatre in Peterborough” bringing the big shows here.

He added: “Bring It On The Musical (opening November 26 and starring Louis Smith) is particularly important to us as it is having its UK premiere here before going to London’s South Bank.

“We have always had a thing about that - we want to be opening shows here pre-West End. It is the model we talked about when we first came here.”

The gradual reopening - ahead of the more regular autumn season of comedy, drama, dance and music - will begin with two weeks of repertory theatre from August 17 featuring Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web and Neil Simon’s California Suite.

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow, who was instrumental in getting the funding application to the Arts Council, added: “This building is crucial to the cultural landscape of this city and that is why I was so keen to get involved in this effort to secure the money for the New Theatre.

“It is a huge vote of confidence for Peterborough, a huge vote of confidence for New Theatre and a huge vote of confidence for our future as a cultural hub.

“£250,000 is a considerable amount of money and I am thrilled it is coming to Peterborough.”