DMU to benefit from £24.5m Leicestershire arts funding


Millions of pounds worth of funding for the arts in Leicestershire has been announced this week by Arts Council England.

Students and staff at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will be among those to benefit from the £24.5m funding which aims to bring new audiences to performances in the city and county.


And the university has close links with the majority of those organisations awarded funding, either as partners, through collaborative projects or opportunities for students to be involved in music and the arts.

Eight organisations have joined the Arts Council’s National Portfolio for the first time – the collection of leading arts and cultural organisations in English who receive regular funding.

Serendipity, which is based in DMU’s Clephan Building, has been awarded £840,000 to further its work to promote diversity in the arts. It organises the city’s Let’s Dance International Frontiers and Black History Month alongside conferences and events.

Pawlet Brookes, Serendipity’s Executive Artistic Director, said: “The support from Arts Council England will provide us with opportunities to continue to provide excellence in the arts, both by opening doors for young people, nurturing emerging talent and by showcasing high quality, culturally diverse work from around the world.

“This is a positive step forward for Serendipity, and also for bringing diversity to the forefront for artists, practitioners and audiences, and deliver on our ambitious programme.”

The National Student Drama Festival received £226,000. From this year it is moving to DMU’s campus where a seven-day festival will take place. “We are moving to Leicester because the opportunity to hold the festival in such a diverse and culturally vibrant city as Leicester is too good an opportunity to miss,” said festival director Michael Brazier.

“And the partnership with De Montfort and the Curve offers the festival audience superb facilities for the shows, workshops and festival events.”

UK Young Artists, which has DMU staff as trustees and sees students take part in festival events, received £600,000. Founded in 2008, UK Young Artists is funded and supported through a unique partnership between DMU, Nottingham Trent, University of Derby, Loughborough University and Arts Council England.

Michelle Bowen, Director of UKYA said: "This investment means that our work can continue to develop and our ambitions continue to grow; supporting more artists, connecting with more cultural organisations, and enabling artist mobility across the world."

Darbar Arts, which DMU works with to stage musical performances throughout the year, also received £980,000 to promote South Asian music. DMU has been working in collaboration with the Darbar team since April.

Curve Theatre, which has a successful partnership with DMU that offers work experience and educational placements in the theatre for students, was awarded £1.9million. 


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Other organisations which DMU supports such as Soft Touch Arts, Leicester Print Workshop, Leicester Museums, The Mighty Creatives, Charnwood Arts, Phoenix Arts and People Dancing were also given funding.

And the Spark Arts for Children, which is Leicester’s annual festival for children, was given £691,000.  It is supported by DMU Square Mile and provides opportunities for students to get involved in music and the arts.

Chief executive Darren Henley said: “This portfolio has emerged from an exhaustive and rigorous process, from initial consultations with the sector, through to the final balancing decisions. Financially, we’ve committed all we can to this new portfolio because we believe that this is the right time. Up and down England there are organisations, villages, towns and cities that will benefit hugely from this investment.”

DMU is working with the Arts Council on a groundbreaking programme to discover and develop creativity and innovation in children and young people due to launch as a pilot scheme in September.



Eight Leicestershire organisations who become part of the Arts Council England’s national portfolio are:

• Aakash Odedra Company (Leicester Dance Theatre) (£1,460,000) – Dance company with a focus on South Asian dance and a growing international reputation for excellent and innovative work. Led by dancer and choreographer Aakash Odedra 

• ArtReach (£1.4 million) – Leicester based creative producer delivering festival activity, outdoor arts events and a performing arts programme across the country. Funding will allow six large-scale programmes including two national festivals, Night of Festivals and Journeys Festival International, as well as a national theatre tour and two European partnership projects 

• Bamboozle (£800,000) – Leicester theatre company producing touring shows, specifically made for children and young people with learning difficulties. For touring shows and multi-sensory experiences 

• Leicester City Council Museums Service (£1.6 million) – Five museums whose collections include archaeology, natural history, world cultures, local history and fine and decorative arts, including German Expressionism

• Metro-Boulot-Dodo (£560,000) – Leicester artist-led organisation working in public spaces such as stately homes and festivals to provide immersive theatrical experiences  

• National Student Drama Festival (£226,172) – Relocating to Leicester, a platform for young people aged 16-25 to develop theatrical talent and perform to peers and industry professionals across a seven day annual festival

• Serendipity (£840,000) – Delivering an annual international and national dance festival, conferences and publications, as well as mentoring for established and emerging artists – with a focus on ethnic minorities  

• UK Young Artists (£600,000) – a Charnwood charity championing the next generation of young artists through regional, national and international platforms. Funding will help national and international events 

Three organisations get extra funding:

• Attenborough Arts Centre (University of Leicester) (£828,000) – Supporting performance and visual arts, music and dance, funding will support work with children and young people and commission new work by disabled artists for tours.

• Darbar Arts (£980,000) – Producing performances of South Asian classical music and dance, and running the annual Darbar Festival in London. 

• The Spark Arts for Children (£691,464) – Hosts an annual festival for children in arts venues across Leicester, working with artists, teachers and parents. The funding be used for two new productions which will tour nationally and support artists and companies working with young people.  

Eight organisations continuing to get the same level of funding:

• Soft Touch Arts (£354,040)

• Foundation for Community Dance (People Dancing) (£760,380) 

• Leicester Arts Centre Ltd (Phoenix) (£321,856) P

• Leicester Print Workshop (£281,160)

• Curve (Leicester Theatre Trust Ltd) (£7,656,116) 

• Leicestershire County Council Museums (£1,192,716)

• The Mighty Creatives (£3,449,908)

• Charnwood Arts (£527,036)

Posted on Friday 30th June 2017

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