Arts and cultural organisations in Portsmouth and Havant are promised funding boost of almost £2m

The New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth
The New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth
  • Portsmouth New Theatre Royal - £249,950 a year, £999,800 over four years
  • The Spring Arts & Heritage – £120,000 a year, £480,000 over four years
  • Aspex Visual Arts Trust – £112,117 a year, £448,468 over four years ·
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SIGNIFICANT investments in three of the area’s arts and culture organisations has been announced by Arts Council England.

As part of the group’s plan for 2018 to 2022, Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal and Aspex Visual Arts Trust will together receive £1.4m in funding over the next four years.

The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre in Havant will receive £480,000 – £120,000 per year for four years. This marks the first time the venue has been awarded with National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) status.

The figures come as Arts Council England, which invests invest public money from the government and the National Lottery, announces the 17 arts and cultural organisations in Hampshire that will benefit from £13m across the four-year period.

An investment of £999,800 in Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal will allow the Guildhall Walk-based venue to further develop its work in the coming years, focusing on four key areas – the programme of work on-stage, artist development, digital development and internationalism.

Speaking about the funding, which has been increased as part of the new portfolio, theatre chief executive Scott Ramsay said: ‘The board, staff and volunteers at the New Theatre Royal are delighted to receive the investment into our theatre and its activities, which allows us to widen our impact across the city.’

Chairwoman of the New Theatre Royal trustees Judith Smyth added: ‘This award is a credit to the staff and board who have overseen the restoration of the theatre.

‘We are at a tipping point and our chief executive and the team will now work with partners to continue Portsmouth’s development as a place that champions creativity and the arts.’

For Aspex, at Gunwharf Quays, the investment of almost half a million pounds (£112,117 per year for four years) will enable the gallery and artists’ centre to continue to support the development of the contemporary visual art sector in Portsmouth.

The renewed portfolio status will allow Aspex to work to engage local audiences in the city and beyond.

Chairwoman of the board of trustees at the centre, Drusilla Moody, said: ‘Aspex Visual Arts Trust is delighted Arts Council England continues to recognise the important work we do.

‘The board are very proud of the team, who are committed to delivering an extraordinary quality of work on top of educational experiences.

‘Retaining National Portfolio Organisation status enables Aspex to continue its important work, enriching Portsmouth and the surrounding area’s cultural and creative environment. Thank you Arts Council England.’

And after being included in Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation for the first time, the team behind the Spring Arts and Heritage Centre are thrilled.

Those working at the Havant venue want to develop its range of activities and performances on offer, while also expanding its work in and around the community.

The Spring’s director Sophie Fullerlove said: ‘We are thrilled to have been recognised as a key provider of arts and cultural activity.

‘As one of the few combined arts and heritage centres in the country, we set out to be one of the leading examples of how to be a small place where big things happen.

‘We have many exciting projects planned over the coming years and as an NPO, we are able to continue to develop and grow these, working closely with artists and organisations across Hampshire, and the UK.

‘The NPO process is hugely competitive and it’s a testament to our team and board of trustees that our activity has been recognised as being a key contributor to the national portfolio.’