The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich are delighted to announce that they will be leading a major new economic development initiative, funded by the Art’s Council England’s Creative Local Growth Fund and the European Regional Development Fund. The initiative is called StartEast: Building the Cultural Economy.
The funding will be used to launch a new business development and grants programme focusing on growing the number and range of cultural and creative businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk. It will officially launch on 15th May 2017 at DanceEast, 6.30 to 8.30pm.
This support will be bespoke; created and delivered by cultural specialists with experience and knowledge of the market place to enable businesses to enter, establish and expand in new markets and across sectors.
StartEast can support creative sole traders, established SMEs and start-ups working in various art-form areas, such as performing arts, outdoor arts, dance, music and literature. It will also support technical roles in the sector such as, for example, stage management.
The theatre will act as mentors to those who take part in the initiative, providing specialist advice and consultancy, access to creative spaces, collaborative opportunities, and support to participate in festivals and showcases.
The funding has been awarded to Norfolk County Council, of which £609,773 is from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) on behalf of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership Cultural Board, and in partnership with Suffolk County Council. The funding releases an additional £500k, already awarded to Norfolk County Council from Arts Council England’s Creative Local Growth Fund, to support the initiative. One of nine national projects supported through the first round, it was one of only 3 to be awarded the full amount available through the fund. The theatre will work in collaboration with a regional partnership steering group.
The initiative will enable a step-change in the capacity, ambition, impact and economic contribution of our regional cultural sector which is one of the New Anglia LEP’s ten priority growth sectors. The programme will leverage the strong partnerships already established between Norfolk and Suffolk’s cultural sectors – including 12 Arts Council England National portfolio organisations; the New Anglia LEP; and other key growth sectors.
Sarah Holmes, Chief Executive, New Wolsey Theatre said:
“As a sector we are absorbed in ensuring that our own organisations deliver the best value for investment and serve the needs of our audience – this sustained project gives arts organisations across to Norfolk & Suffolk the rare opportunity of directly contributing to continued growth of the wider network of performance makers, applied artists, and entertainment service providers, to ensure that our thriving cultural economy is ready for the challenges ahead.”
Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said:
“Norfolk County Council’s proposal has the potential to be transformational for the cultural sector in the region. The project has the local community at its heart, and is an excellent demonstration of the power of arts and culture for the growth of the local economy.”