Theatre Orchard to get £360 cash boost to create 'vibrant' Weston arts scene

PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 July 2017

Nutty Noah with giant inflatable juggling balls.

Nutty Noah with giant inflatable juggling balls.

Archant

Arts Council England will give £360,000 to a theatre charity over the next four years to create a 'vibrant and diverse' culture in Weston.

The Government-funded council has given National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) status to Theatre Orchard – the first North Somerset group to achieve the title – which will officially apply from April 2018.

Becoming an NPO will see Theatre Orchard given £90,000 per year until 2022, which it will use to develop the arts offering in Weston and beyond.

It has already tasted success in Weston with its Theatre Tropicana programme, which has seen acts including Nutty Noah and Trainspotting Live thrill audiences at the venue.

This followed a similar venture in Theatre Shop, a project which was launched in Clevedon in 2015.

Fiona Matthews, executive producer at Theatre Orchard, said: “We are over the moon – this is such good news for the arts in North Somerset.

“The sustainability that NPO status offers will enable Theatre Orchard to develop the existing performance offer at Clevedon’s Theatre Shop, Tropicana and a host of other places and spaces, as well as offering more support to North Somerset artists and direct engagement with communities.

“It means Theatre Orchard can increase its staffing, invest in a vibrant and diverse cultural life for North Somerset, and strike up meaningful long-term partnerships with a range of artists and companies which can help us build the region’s creative life and economy.”

Phil Gibby, Arts Council England area director for the South West, added: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Theatre Orchard to the national portfolio.

“We are excited by their commitment to make North Somerset a more dynamic and stimulating place to live, work and visit and look forward to working with them to achieve this aim.

“Working in areas that traditionally have less arts and cultural provision, Theatre Orchard tour its quirky and inspiring theatre shows to unusual indoor and outdoor spaces across North Somerset, from empty shops and seafronts to country pubs and Weston’s iconic Tropicana venue, supporting our mission to take exciting arts and culture to more people in more places.”

Theatre Tropicana is running throughout the summer and is due to end on September 30.

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