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Northern Ballet in funding crisis

Cuts take 25 per cent from annual budget

Published on March 30th 2011.


Northern Ballet in funding crisis

LEEDS-based Northern Ballet will lose 25 per cent of its funding because of government spending cuts in the arts sector.

“Previously, strong ticket sales in some of the venues on our national tours have helped to subsidise venues where sales are poorer. We will now have to cut weaker venues from our tours altogether, which will mean that some UK theatres may no longer receive any classical ballet performances”

The organisation will receive £800,000 less from the Arts Council in 2012/13, which will mean a cutback on new commissions.

Northern Ballet recently moved into a new, purpose-built home on Quarry Hill in Leeds. Chief executive Mark Skipper said: “We are deeply disappointed with this funding outcome for Northern Ballet. The budget we submitted to ACE reflected our true costs for 2012/15 and was built on a real schedule of touring and allowing us to create new work. It was carefully calculated to reflect what Northern Ballet needs to deliver ACE's ambition of great art for everyone.

“We have worked hard to become a successful organisation, even though it is widely accepted that we have always been an underfunded company. We have made our funding work very hard to maintain our high production values, create new ballets and sustain the breadth of our touring and our education work.

“However these cuts will severely impact the potential achievements of the company just as it embarks on a bold new future. We won't be able to commission the new work for which we have an unrivalled reputation. Our reach through performing and learning will also be curtailed, and the towns and cities to which we tour will no longer benefit from the economic impact we bring.

“Previously, strong ticket sales in some of the venues on our national tours have helped to subsidise venues where sales are poorer. We will now have to cut weaker venues from our tours altogether, which will mean that some UK theatres may no longer receive any classical ballet performances.

“We know there is a demand for our work and great interest in the company. More than 2,200 people attended our open day in January, our classes are full, our performances on tour are busy and applications for our Academy are the highest they have ever been.

“Northern Ballet has previously received 57 per cent of its income through public funding. Our audiences are tremendously loyal and supportive of the company and we will depend on them now more than ever to help us generate an income with which to continue into the future.”

Northern Ballet creates a new full-length ballet each year and tours to more UK venues than any other company in the country. The company has also toured overseas to China (twice), Milan, Miami, Barcelona, Beijing, Bangkok and Macau.

It said the funding cuts would ‘seriously curtail its work in providing opportunities for people everywhere to have access to excellence in dance performance and participation.’

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