(L to R) Hardish Virk, Jay Singh, Peter Chand, Jaivant Patel, Vicky Price, Ranjit Khutan, Pushpa Alexander, Ram Singh

Grand Awarded Arts Council Emergency Funding

WOLVERHAMPTON GRAND THEATRE has been granted a £30,000 funding bid from Arts Council England. 

In April 2020 Arts Council England announced a 160 million emergency response package to the Covid-19 pandemic. A proportion of this money was set aside for NonNPO organisations of which the Grand is one. 

Over the last three years the Grand has made huge strives with its Community and Audience Development work and this funding will be used to continue over the next twelve months. 

Highlights of previous success include: 

  • The Grand collaborated with every secondary school in Wolverhampton over 2018 and 2019. 
  • Developed the first South Asian Ambassador group and increased South Asian Audiences by 20%. 
  • The first theatre in Midlands to deliver a full programme of work for patrons living with Dementia. 
  • Worked with community groups including, Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, Breast Cancer Support Group Wolverhampton and the Refugee & Migrant Centre and The Teenage Cancer Trust. 

Consultant Hardish Virk has been working with the Grand for the last eighteen months predominantly leading the South Asian Ambassador group and now, thanks to the funding will continue into 2021. He said, 

“The debate around diversity, inclusion, access and equality is nothing new to the arts sector, but what is satisfying is when an arts organisation commits to strategic development and change.  

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre has demonstrated over the last 18 months a cross-departmental commitment to developing South Asian audiences (who make up a high percentage of the local ethnic population but historically has not been reflected in the theatres’ audiences). This has included a process of setting up an ambassadors’ group; addressing representation on the board, staff and in the programming; developing local and regional partners; community outreach work; audience development campaigns; cultural awareness training and mentoring for existing staff. 

He continued to say, 

There has already been significant organisational development in terms of learning, representation and partnerships plus an increase in South Asian audiences but we recognise that sustainable change and development requires long-term investment. Which is why the Arts Council England investment is integral to the theatres’ commitment to developing this workI look forward to continuing my relationship with the Grand and its’ partners as we move forward with this exciting and important project.” 

Grand Theatre Associate Director of Development and Communications, Vicky Price said, 

We are absolutely thrilled to receive this funding from the Arts CouncilThe work carried out by the dedicated Grand Theatre team has created a huge sense of pride and accomplishment 

As an un-funded organisation, we have previously used our own finances to carry out this work. We are now facing a challenging in time in the wake of Covid-19, therefore knowing that we have the funds ring fenced for this is extremely comforting.”