Derby Theatre awarded £1.5 million from Arts Council England

Arts Council England today announces two pilot Performing Arts Producing Hubs, groups of theatres, arts organisations, social enterprises, community groups and other organisations who will work to support and strengthen the performing arts sector in their local areas.

Derby Theatre is thrilled to be one of the two venues selected to receive the Arts Council England funding, coming from the National Lottery, and has been awarded £1.5 million over three years to become a Producing Hub.

Derby Theatre will use the funding to create new work with audiences and communities at its heart, working closely with partners from the city and beyond to deliver the various strands of the project. The exciting consortium of companies who will help to support, deliver and develop the Producing Hubs model in Derby include: Baby People, China Plate, Crying Out Loud, Déda, Derby City Council, Derby County Community Trust, In Good Company, Maison Foo, Milk Presents, Not Too Tame, QUAD, University of Derby and Wild Rumpus. This combination of artist-led organisations, National Portfolio Organisations, the football club, university and the local authority means that we as a collective can genuinely reach out into new parts of the city and think about creating theatre in new ways.

As a Producing Hub, we will programme work in community settings across the city; produce new small-scale productions that will tour into these hubs and beyond; produce new mid-scale work which will play on the Derby Theatre main stage and produce new outdoor work which will play at festivals like Festé and across the city. It will also provide artists with opportunities to work on research and development together and deliver community and artist development opportunities.

Sarah Brigham (Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Derby Theatre) said:
“We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded the Producing Hubs funding which will enable us to forge and develop new and exciting relationships with artists, local people and organisations across the city and beyond. We very much look forward to collaborating and creating and presenting work which connects and resonates with the communities our organisations serve.  I am also excited to embed and present our work in a range of new and exciting spaces and providing community-related development opportunities for artists.  We hope this pilot scheme will allow us to test new ways of making excellent arts experiences for all.”

Neil Darlison (Director, Theatre at Arts Council England) said: 
“These pilots will examine whether a better connected performing arts sector increases production capacity and provides greater opportunities for artists and audiences. By supporting individual artists and organisations, we hope these Hubs will develop thriving cultural economies that both reflect and engage their local communities.”

Peter Knott (Midlands Area Director, Arts Council England) said:
“The project offers an opportunity to revitalise the creation of new work, with the Derbyshire community right at its heart, and we’re pleased to support Derby Theatre and their partners as they create completely original theatre, community work and artist development opportunities.

“It’s great to see such ambition and enthusiasm to bring interesting and diverse theatre to new audiences, with a wealth of ways for local people to get involved, from attending a local performance, to working with an artist in residence to develop ideas for a show. We have seen amazing results from projects funded by the National Lottery and look forward to seeing this Producing Hub unearth new talent and become a real source of pride for the Derbyshire community.”

The Hubs will operate from early September 2019. The pilots are intended to test the potential of Producing Hubs to respond to the 2016 Analysis of Theatre in England report, which identified a gap in such support for performing arts organisations outside of London.

The Producing Hub projects will further build on the city’s work with, and in, local communities through the This is Derby project. For more information, visit