What Arts Council England can do for you.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022

Times are hard for artists right now, and we want to do as much as we can to help. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share resources, articles by inspiring creatives, and things we found inspiring to help you as much as we can.


To start off with, here’s a guide to some things Arts Council England can do to help you right now.


1: Emergency Support.


Whoa, wait – what is Arts Council England?


Arts Council England (ACE) is the official body for moving money to support the arts in England (similar bodies exist for other parts of the UK). Much of it comes from the National Lottery, some direct from HMRC, and they use it to support everything from museums to libraries to opera.


What does it do?


ACE funding is often the backbone of creative projects at our Festival and beyond. It also does lots of great work to keep an eye on the overall industry – who’s getting the chance to make stuff, who’s choosing to watch what, and so on.


Full disclosure: we’re a proud National Portfolio Organisation, which means we’ve been getting regular funding for over 10 years to keep developing artists in new opera. It makes it much easier for us to plan, and is a much-appreciated recognition of what we do.


What can they do for ME?


If you hadn’t interrupted, you’d know by now, imaginary person!


Right now, ACE have given a lot of money to support music and theatre artists through Help Musicians UK and the Theatre Artists Fund, respectively. It’s also made a list of other sources of support, which may have places you can go for immediate support.


That does sound good. But what about my ART?


I do like art, it’s true. ACE can help with that too. Lots of artists benefit from Project Grants, which focuses on supporting individual projects. There are two strands – one for projects up to £30,000, and another for bigger sums.


Yes. Give me the money!


It’s not that simple.


Both have their own way of applying, so read the guidance carefully before you start. The application takes a notoriously long amount of time (realistically, 1-3 days’ work), and is very competitive.

You’ll want to make sure that you persuade ACE that not only is your work of really high quality-


It is.


— but it also helps ACE meet its own objectives for Let’s Create, its new strategy for the next decade. Improving access to the arts, and allowing more people to make art, and making great art are all things they’re interested in.


But everything’s basically closed right now. I was hoping to make myself a better person and stuff.


That’s very Lockdown One. We’re deep into the junk food over here.


Your problem. Is there any money for training and stuff?


Yes! You’re looking for Developing Your Creative Practice, which is money to do exactly that – learn a new skill, craft a new piece, all that sort of thing. Again, read the guidance carefully before applying to stand the best chance.


Fine. What else can it do?


It all depends whether you’re an individual or a company. Which one are you?


I’d rather not say.




If you’re a company, you can apply for the Emergency Recovery Fund before early February 2022. It’s a pot of money to help companies get through the pandemic and come out stronger. Unsurprisingly, it’s even more competitive than the other strands, so if you are applying, make sure you make the case for what you can offer clearly.


But what if I don’t get it? I need MONEY!


Yes. Keeping checking our and ACE’s news pages for the latest updates about possible sources of funding.


Unfortunately, ACE can’t help everyone, but it’s always doing its best to improve. Things like:

– The costs of accessibility needs (BSL interpreters etc.) doesn’t count towards the cost of your overall show.

– If you get in touch, you can talk to your local ACE branch about your funding application.

– Reducing the workload of funding applications.


That does sound good. Right. I’m off to go and ask ACE for some cash.


You… may need a better pitch.


I’m brilliant. That’s the pitch.