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England's northernmost town big winner in Arts Council funding shake-up

Wed 30 Mar

England's northernmost town big winner in Arts Council funding shake-up

A joint press-release issued by The Maltings Theatre & Cinema and The Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

30 March 2011

The tiny town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, England's most northern town, will be a major recipient of funding from the Arts Council Portfolio programme announced today.

The town, with a population of just 12,000, will receive an additional injection of over £225,000 from the Arts Council - which will go to the local Maltings Theatre & Cinema and the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival - both based in the same building.

The Maltings received the fourth largest percentage increase in funding in the country and the highest in the North, quadrupling the theatre's grant from just £42,000 to over £175,000.

'We're obviously delighted that the Arts Council have recognised the great work that we're doing up here,' said the 320-seat theatre's 34-year-old Chief Executive, Dr Miles Gregory.

'This represents a massive vote of confidence in our ability to deliver the ambitious vision that we set out in our application'.

The news comes as The Maltings - which has doubled its programme of events in the last two years - celebrates the launch of a new 100-seatstudio space funded through the European union.

The Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, now in its seventh year, is one of only 110 newcomers to the portfolio funding scheme, nationally, and only 10 in the region, having not previously been a regularly funded organisation.

They will receive £50,000 a year from 2012 to produce Berwick's innovative and internationally-acclaimed film and media arts festival, which takes over some of the historic town’s most unusual locations for site-specific commissions, installations, screenings and live events.

The festival, which attracts up to 10,000 visitors from across the UK, is set to return 23 - 25 September 2011. 'This is great news for the festival, and for the town,' said Melanie Iredale, the Festival's director, 'and it will allow the festival to grow into an even more exciting and adventurous event. We're very pleased with this result'.

Dr Gregory added, 'It's particularly exciting that our two organisations share the same building, which really establishes The Maltings as a creative hub for the town and region.'

'And it's even more exciting for Berwick, where the arts already play a massive role in regenerating this beautiful walled town.'

Berwick is one of the poorest towns in the country, with the lowest average wage at just £13,000 a year. Yet the town attracts over 70,000 annual attendances at events at The Maltings and the Film & Media Arts Festival.

ENDS

For further information on The Maltings Theatre & Cinema please contact Miles Gregory on miles.gregory[at]maltingsberwick.co.uk or on 01289 330661 x7 / 01289 330 999. www.maltingsberwick.co.uk

For further information on the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival please contact Melanie Iredale on melanie[at]berwickfilm-artsfest.com or on 077 0868 1552 www.berwickfilm-artsfest.com

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The Maltings is operated by The Maltings (Berwick) Trust Registered Charity No: 701194