Row braces as Arts Council diverts opera funding to ‘cultural spiel’

Coliseum Theater in London

Coliseum Theater in London

The Arts Council funded a music group that attacked government policy in Rwanda, as well as the so-called Bureau of Idiot Ideas.

The organization, which invests government and National Lottery money in the arts, has made donations as part of an effort to spread funds more evenly across the country.

A theater group is also vying for funding, claiming Henry V was a power-hungry imperialist rather than an English hero, and a theater which had planned to hold a family sex workshop.

The revelations come amid an ongoing row over plans to move more funds beyond London, which has seen English National Opera lose all of its Arts Council funding.

Dr Harry Brunjes, chairman of English National Opera (ENO) and the London Coliseum, said he was “stunned, shocked and appalled” by the announcement, which will affect the livelihoods of many of his staff.

As ENO faces an uncertain future, the Arts Council has given £2,076,906 to the Headlong Theatre, whose artistic director has described Shakespeare’s play as the pinnacle of ‘white supremacy’ and ‘masculinity toxic”.

The company will receive the money between 2023 and 2026, according to the Taxpayers Alliance.

The Arts Council’s national portfolio will award £1.34billion in grants over these three years, and almost 30 per cent of organizations receiving money will be in London.

The Bureau of Silly Ideas, an outdoor arts group which includes an electric vehicle designed to look like a foot among its projects, will receive £150,000.

Other awards also include £330,000 for Music Action International which signed a letter to the Home Secretary criticizing his immigration policy and calling the government’s plan for Rwanda ‘brutal’.

“It’s time to lift the veil on the Arts Council”

Elliot Keck, Inquiry Campaign Director at the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “Taxpayers across the country are tired of seeing their hard-earned money wasted on cultural spiel.

“Despite calls for continued grants for organizations in the capital, the fact remains that precious funds have been pledged to many absurd indulgences or preaching projects.

“If they can’t pull themselves together, it’s time to pull the curtain down on the Arts Council.”

This winter’s new production of Henry V at the Globe Theater in London will ‘challenge what it really means to be English’.

It will be directed by Holly Race Roughan, artistic director of the Headlong Theatre, who said she found the play to be “the pinnacle of English mythology, white supremacy and toxic masculinity”.

Speaking to The Stage about her vision for the new production, she said: “I felt like I had discovered the dirty, murky roots of English nationalism.

“I wanted to take the piece off the ground and look at those roots and start asking questions about them. What is Anglicism? What is it for socially and politically?

The new production of Henry V at the Globe Theater promises to

New production of Henry V at the Globe Theater promises to ‘challenge what it really means to be English’

The Arts Council has announced funding of £446,264,485 a year for 990 organizations within its national portfolio, a list of organizations that receive regular quango funding. This means a total outlay of around £1,338,793,455.

Several organizations that are about to receive funding have organized or are about to organize drag queen events for children, including the Discovery Children’s Story Center which organizes a Drag Story Time for children aged three to seven. years and will receive a total of £286,971.

The Tobacco Factory Theatre, which was to host the controversial Family Sex Show until it was cancelled, will receive £184,374.

The Artichoke Trust, whose recent projects include a billboard saying ‘Hey Straight White Men, Pass the Power’, has received £1,430,244.

The total number of organizations in the national portfolio increased from 828 to 990, an increase of almost 20%.

Of the 990 organisations, 272 had not received any Arts Council funding under the same program in the previous five years (since 2018/19).

A total of 282 organizations are based in London, with the remaining 708 based outside of London. This includes Headlong Theatre, Artichoke Trust, Discovery Children’s Story Centre, Tobacco Factory Theater and the Bureau of Silly Ideas.

London-based organizations will receive a third of the funding, around £461m over three years.

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