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News: Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation awards 28 new grants

Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation awards 28 new grants to support under-represented aspiring actors, musicians and craftspeople

·         28 new grants awarded worth a total of £686,133 to projects right across the UK
·         One year on from the Foundation’s Centre Stage report, priority is given to projects that champion diversity and break down barriers
·         A number of grants offer free, high-quality industry experience from professionals

This November, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has awarded grants worth a total of £686,133 to 28 projects across the UK and internationally. Championing the breaking down of barriers to engagement in the arts, many of the organisations rewarded this autumn will use their grant to specifically engage young people and those from hard-to-reach and minority backgrounds. This follows on from last December’s Centre Stage report, which urged the theatre profession to take action to improve the pipeline of diverse talent into the arts.
From apprenticeships to PhDs, these projects will benefit people as far flung as America to across the UK in Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and throughout England to projects in Northampton, Newcastle Under Lyme, Portsmouth, Lancaster, Warwick, Newcastle Upon Tyne and Norwich.  
This includes more than £220,ooo to support music projects, over £226,000 for theatre initiatives and over £175,000 for projects conserving and promoting heritage. The Foundation’s active grant giving programme has awarded over £18 million since 2010 to support the enhancement of arts education, participation and increasing diversity across the sector.

The recipients of this round of grants are National Youth Theatre, Mercury Musical Developments, Masterclass Trust, Live Theatre, Wales Millennium Centre, JMK Trust, New Vic Theatre, Northampton Theatres Trust Ltd, The Dukes Theatre, Square Chapel Arts Centre, Punchdrunk, Warwick Arts Centre, The Jessye Norman School of Arts, Wac Arts, Greyscale Theatre Company, Frozen Light Theatre, Historic Wales Heritage Angel Awards, Gainsborough House, Churches Conservation Trust, Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (SAHGB), Chetham’s School of Music, Ulster Orchestra, Northampton’s Music and Performing Arts Trust, Chineke! Orchestra, MiSST, Gorsebrook School, Urban Vocal Group and William Mathias Music Centre.

Highlights include a grant of £90,000 over three years to highly regarded centre of excellence, Chetham’s School of Music. The grant will fund a full fee bursary based on talent and financial need in this specialist music school which provides expert tuition and guidance for aspiring musicians. Ulster Orchestra has been awarded £27,180 to provide side by side coaching and mentoring for university music students from NI for over three years. There is no vocational third level music college in Northern Ireland and this scheme offers a unique opportunity for young local musicians to rehearse and perform alongside the professional Ulster Orchestra.

Other projects targeting under-represented communities in the performing arts include SPARK, a musical theatre project encouraging participation and progression for young people from BAME and hard to reach communities in Stoke on Trent, for which New Vic Theatre, Newcastle Under Lyme has been awarded £50,000 over two years. Chineke! Orchestra receives £15,000 towards their orchestral learning and participation project, taken in to schools in Gloucester, Birmingham and Southampton at no cost to the school. £10,000 is awarded to Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne’s G’ben/Write project providing weekly career development, mentoring and support sessions lasting over 6 months for young writers aged 16 – 25 of Afro Caribbean origin.

Another local award in the North East has gone to Greyscale Theatre Company, Newcastle Upon Tyne has been awarded £1,500 to offer a paid apprenticeship for a young disabled director Sarah Gonnet.  She will be working as assistant director on 'Joey' a new play written by Newcastle based writer Sean Burn. The play is currently in development, and the work in progress of it was shared at Camden People's Theatre in London last week as part of their Shape of Things to Come FestivalSarah Gonnet is a writer and multi-media artist. She runs The Female Gaze Magazine and is currently developing a play about the history of women in film, from the late 1800s onward. She trained as a playwright with Graeae Theatre Company on their Write to Play program.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said: ‘One year on from the publication of the Centre Stage report I’m delighted my Foundation is able to fund such a wide range of projects across the UK that help erode the barriers to careers in the arts and heritage for young people from all backgrounds. The report encouraged other funders and philanthropists to do the same.  I urge everyone who can to get involved and support the development of diverse talent across our industry.  I’m also particularly thrilled to see that we will have Heritage Angel Awards in Wales next year and will be able to celebrate the vital work that people contribute to saving our heritage right across the country.’

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