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York Theatre Royal is pleased to announce that it has been awarded £150,000 by the Clothworkers’ Foundation.  The announcement was made at the UK Theatre Awards on Sunday 18 October at the Guildhall in London.  Liz Wilson, Chief Executive of York Theatre Royal was presented with the prestigious award by actor Robert Powell at a star-studded ceremony which was attended by Sir Patrick Stewart OBE, Barbara Windsor MBE, Richard Wilson OBE, Anne Reid MBE, Dame Eileen Atkins DBE and guests from theatres and creative teams from across the UK.

The Clothworkers’ Theatre Award is part of a wider £1.25million, five-year programme to support the Dramatic Arts and is given to an organisation in a different region each year.  This year, York Theatre Royal’s application faced stiff competition from Harrogate Theatre, Hull Truck Theatre, Sheffield Theatres Trust, Stephen Joseph Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse.  York Theatre Royal received the award in recognition of its inventive approach to work involving all members of the community, including younger and older people and ‘hard to reach’ sectors who would not normally engage with the theatre.

York Theatre Royal will use this funding to support Community Collaborations: a season of active spectatorship, a unique project, which will see York Theatre Royal embark on a two-year programme of exceptional community engagement, with the idea of the ‘active spectator’ behind all activity.  This includes the annual TakeOver festival, completely run by young people aged 12 – 26 years old; a unique programme involving Youth Theatre and older members of the community; and another large-scale community production in 2016/17 following the success of York Mystery Plays 2012, Blood + Chocolate (2013) and In Fog and Falling Snow (2015). 

Vicky Biles, General Manager at York Theatre Royal said:

We are thrilled to have been given the Clothworkers’ Award to support our work within the community over the next two years. York Theatre Royal has a very strong track record of working with the community and has a reputation as one of the most inclusive cultural institutions in the country.  This award will enable us to re-open the theatre after a transformative capital redevelopment with an exceptional project that will ensure the ongoing sustainability of this important theatre.

The award is open to venue members of UK Theatre that operate under the UK Theatre/Equity Subsidised Repertory Agreement. In 2015, venues in Yorkshire were invited to apply. It is currently planned that this will be followed by the North East and North West, East and West Midlands and finally East and South East.

The Clothworkers' Foundation, an independent grant-making trust, was set up by The Clothworkers' Company in 1977. Since then, the Foundation has awarded more than £100m in grants. It awards capital grants to UK not-for-profit organisations which aim to improve the lives of people and communities, particularly those facing disadvantage. In addition, the Foundation has a small number of proactive grant programmes including the new five year £1.25m Dramatic Arts initiative.

Organised by UK Theatre, the UK Theatre Awards are the only nationwide awards to honour creative excellence and the outstanding achievement seen on and off stage throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.