Vital Emergency Fund To Support Our Dorset Theatre Freelance Workforce

7 extraordinary artists stand in a line; left to right: a white man in a wheelchair holding a guitar, a white woman with long brown hair, a tall black man in a bright pink top, a white woman with a short bob and a walking stick, a white man in a wheelchair, a man with hair tied up holding crutches, a black woman in bold blue dress laughing.

This week, our Dorset-based company received a £121,310 vital emergency fund from Arts Council England. We will use this money to make good the heavy losses we have faced as a direct result of Covid-19 and to help stabilise our creative workforce.

“The majority of the vital grant will shore up Diverse City’s ‘bricks and mortar’. Not a building, but instead the independent, diverse and disabled creative workforce who represent equality in the arts.

Many of our extended family of amazing artists work in Extraordinary Bodies, our professional circus company of disabled and non-disabled artists. They have been hard hit by Covid-19. It is in everyone’s interest that these artists don’t disappear.

We worked with over 150 freelancers last year and their loss would be a disaster for our work and legacy. So we have chosen to put these artists first. We will invite them to continue to do what they do best: experiment, invent and create. If we don’t, those with privilege will continue to lead the cultural changes that are coming.”

The vital emergency fund is part of the Arts Council’s £160m package for the culture sector in England. It also included £20m for creatives and freelancers, and £50m for cultural organisations outside its national portfolio. 

Darren Henley, Arts Council’s Chief Executive, said: “It’s in essence an intervention fund – a pot of last resort, designed only to buy time. Ideally, we would not have to use all of the allocated £90m for this emergency period, because we anticipate that bigger investments will be necessary later to help the sector reopen. But ultimately, we’re trusting everyone to be unselfish, and to act individually in the best interests of the whole.”

>> Read the full Media Release
>> Read our Freelance Task Force blog post