Funding boost for the “grassroots” musical.

Arts Council England has this week announced that is has awarded a grant of £188,860 to Perfect Pitch Musicals, an organisation committed to developing contemporary British musicals.  The organisation, started in 2006, works with writers to develop and present their work through an annual West End showcase.  Musical theatre receives very little support from the industry as it is considered a commercially sustainable art form.  However, this lack of support can arguably be seen in the current crop of West End musicals that are reliant on revivals, jukebox shows and imports.

On Broadway there is more funding available for new musical theatre, although not necessarily through the state as discussed previously here.  It gives some relief to see that finally, it has been recognised that public subsidy is needed at the developmental stage to help grow and sustain this sector.  Musical theatre contributes massively to the UK economy through employment, tax revenues, balance of payments and tourism.  Therefore it has been a topic of some anguish as to whether the sector should receive any Arts Council support.  The funding awarded to Perfect Pitch now opens up the possibilities for similar companies such as Musical Theatre Matters and Mercury Musical Developments to gain funding.  Although there will be no immediate success, the expansive work that Perfect Pitch may now do and the possibilities for further funding open up an exciting future for the development of the contemporary British musical.

theatreJunki © 2009

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