The show must go on, vows theatre company

A TOURING theatre company which lost out on hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of funding in last week’s Arts Council England grant announcements has vowed to continue no matther what.

Northumberland Theatre Company failed in their joint bid with the Alnwick Playhouse to secure three years’ grant funding from the body.

But a week on from the announcement and the company is focussed on securing funds for the forseeable future to keep the good work that it does going.

Director Gillian Hambleton said: “We are in strategic planning at the moment. We are determined to continue as far as we possibly can and we are having meetings with our board and with the Arts Council about ways forward and what pots of money we can access and the different places that we can access funding.

“We have had an awful lot of offers and suggestions of help from people which we are very grateful for.”

A board meeting is being held tomorrow by NTC to thrash out the plans for the future. After that the company will be in a better position to look at how it can continue.

NTC has been in business in Alnwick since 1984 after buying the Alnwick Playhouse building.

The company’s main work involves touring around rural village halls and community venues to take the arts to people who are not able to access it so freely.

And with its success NTC now tours its shows across the country.

The loss of the Arts Council funding means that its InterACT project, which trains up new recruits into the arts industry, will be axed if more funding cannot be found.

And it is feared that the training ensemble’s upcoming showcase, which is touring the country during April and May, could be its last.

Directed, stage-managed and performed by the talented InterACT group, 4Play is four half-hour productions which investigate the absurdity of life, love, truth and hope.

The tour will kick-off with performances at Alnwick Playhouse on April 20 and 21 before moving to venues in the likes of Southampton, Middlesbrough and London.

But Ben Steppenbeck, who manages the InterACT scheme day-to-day, said: “Potentially yes, it could be the last performed. We are looking at ways for this to not be the case. We just don’t know.”

With the Arts Council money running until April 2012, Ben added: “We are hopeful that the scheme will go ahead for next year but we just don’t know the format.”