Thesps on the money

By Alex Hope-Rollinson

Students have welcomed a major funding boost for two Oxford theatres from Arts Council England.

The Oxford Playhouse and the Pegasus Theatre were among fifteen successful applicants in the South East region for grants worth £2.3m over a three-year period.

Arts Council England announced the funding boost as part of a £30.5m nationwide Catalyst Arts programme.

Pegasus Theatre in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, was awarded £120,000 to develop new approaches to fundraising.

The Oxford Playhouse in Beaumont Street has been given £218,793 to boost its work with family audiences by touring more shows.

Mary Flannigan, secretary of Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS), commented: “In a time of cutbacks across the board in the Arts sector, it’s really heartening that the Arts Council have decided to reward the really great work that’s being done in Oxford theatre.

“OUDS would obviously support putting this money towards resources that will help student theatre. Whatever they decide to use it for, this is a brilliant thing for Oxford drama.”

Former President of OUDS Max Marenbon echoed the wish to see funding go to student theatre projects, adding: “Oxford’s prestige as a centre for the arts derives in no small part from the thriving Oxford University drama scene. I’m sure that our student drama was a factor in clinching the grant, and I hope this will be fully reflected in how it is spent.”

Emily Romain, whose dramatic credits at Oxford include The Soldier’s Tale, commented: “It’s fantastic that the Arts Council has given money to Oxford theatres recognising the amazing creativity of these places. It’s also great that the Playhouse and the Pegasus intend to bring drama to the wider community as drama and the arts in general play an important role in society.”