Future of Colchester’s arts & heritage organisations boosted by major Arts Council England Investment

From L-R: Sally Shaw (Director of Firstsite) Cllr Tim Young (Deputy Leader, Colchester Borough Council), Steve Mannix (Executive Director, Mercury Theatre Colchester), Anthony Roberts (Director, Colchester Arts Centre).

From L-R: Sally Shaw (Director of Firstsite) Cllr Tim Young (Deputy Leader, Colchester Borough Council), Steve Mannix (Executive Director, Mercury Theatre Colchester), Anthony Roberts (Director, Colchester Arts Centre).

Arts Council England today announce that four Colchester arts & heritage organisations are appointed to the UK-wide National Portfolio of leading organisations for 2018 – 2022

Hundreds of thousands of Colchester and Essex residents and businesses will continue to benefit from a thriving arts scene for years to come, thanks to funding announced today by Arts Council England. The Arts Council will invest a total of £7.9m in Colchester-based arts organisations between 2018 and 2022.  Colchester Arts Centre, Firstsite and Mercury Theatre have all re-secured their places in the ‘National Portfolio’.

Colchester & Ipswich Museums Service join the National Portfolio for the first time, and a separate press release will be issued by Ipswich Borough Council.

National Portfolio Organisations receive regular funding from the Arts Council, and in their words the NPOs “represent some of the best arts practice in the world”.  Today’s announcement once again demonstrates that the arts and creative industries are playing a leading role in Colchester’s growth as a town.

Each organisation will now sign an agreement with Arts Council England to agree how the funding will be invested. In all cases, Arts Council funding will help to support the core running costs of the organisation, ensuring it can continue to deliver an excellent and accessible service to residents and visitors in Colchester and across Essex and the wider region. 

Cllr Tim Young, Portfolio Holder for Culture at Colchester Borough Council said:

“As a Council we are proud to champion the arts, heritage and creative industries – these organisations are not luxuries for a select few, they are vital organisations reaching hundreds of thousands of people, and make a huge contribution to Colchester’s economy.”

Cllr Susan Barker, Portfolio Holder for Culture at Essex County Council said:

“This is excellent news the whole of Essex, we know that exposure to arts and culture benefits wellbeing in all kinds of ways, not to mention the positive impact having such nationally recognised organisations has on Essex communities and economy. I’m delighted that a record number of Essex organisations are being supported by the Arts Council.”

Anthony Roberts, Director of Colchester Arts Centre said:

“It’s great to be back in the National Portfolio – this news means we can carry on entertaining, surprising, confusing, and making mischief with the good people of Colchester for years to come.”

Sally Shaw, Director of Firstsite said:

“We are delighted that Arts Council England has reappointed Firstsite’s National Portfolio status. This, of course, comes with a huge responsibility, and we are committed to making Firstsite’s programme as exciting, relevant and appealing, not just in the exhibitions it stages but as an arts resource that the entire community can be a part of and enjoy.”

Daniel Buckroyd, Artistic Director of Mercury Theatre Colchester said:

“In difficult times, our job is to continue to throw open our doors and bring people together. We’re proud to be part of a town that has the creative industries at its heart– we’re thrilled to retain our place in the National Portfolio, and look forward to working with other partners to create outstanding arts and educational opportunities for everyone.”


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