A group, led by New Vic Theatre, has been awarded a grant of £1,750,000 to expand the work of the Appetite arts project into Newcastle.
It has been running in Stoke-on-Trent since 2013, and has seen 460,000 people get involved in a programme of events in the city’s parks, town centres, markets, and hospitals.
It has featured local, national and international artists and has included The Enchanted Chandelier, a floating concert in the sky over Central Forest Park and Museum of the Moon, an epic lunar installation in the Kings Hall.
Now the cash from the Arts Council will allow Appetite to work in Newcastle over a 4-year period, beginning in October 2019.
New consortium partners, Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Improvement District (BID), Go Kidsgrove and Keele University will join existing consortium partners New Vic Theatre, Staffordshire University, Partners in Creative Learning and Six Towns Radio to deliver the expanded programme.
The £1.75m grant is coming from the Arts Council's Creative People and Places programme.
It is about people taking the lead in choosing, creating and taking part in arts experiences in the places where they live.
The Museum of the Moon installation in the Kings Hall
Building on a partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Appetite will also work with new partners Newcastle Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council and Aspire Housing to engage local community groups and co-produce a menu of arts events and activities for all people across the Borough, in addition to a continuing programme in the Potteries.
Gemma Thomas, Appetite Director said: “We’re proud to have been able to secure this additional strategic funding from Arts Council England.
"Our six years working with people in Stoke-on-Trent has proven that local people have an appetite for art that is relevant to them and their families.
"We love working with our partners and local people to come up with events and projects and look forward to doing so with people in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
"The investment from Arts Council England shows a willingness of funders to invest in places like North Staffordshire.
"In Stoke-on-Trent we’ve supported artists and community groups to apply for additional funding through Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants and would encourage others to apply for projects across our area.
"We’re looking forward to expanding our work for the next four years with our Newcastle partners whilst continuing our work in Stoke-on-Trent.”
Cllr. Mark Holland, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council said: “The Homecoming events over the last few years have showcased the pinnacle of contemporary circus talent, right here in our town centre – and there has certainly been an ‘appetite’ for more.
"It is fabulous news that this unique programme, which engages, educates and entertains our communities, is going to be expanded further in Newcastle-under-Lyme in the next few years, thanks to the funding that has been secured by the New Vic and our other partners.”
Fiona Wallace, Managing Director at New Vic Theatre, said: “Newcastle-under-Lyme has an amazingly varied creative heritage from being the birthplace of the founder of modern circus to being the home of the New Vic’s unique theatre-in-the-round.
"Were thrilled that we’ll be able to expand the work that has been so successful across neighbouring Stoke-on-Trent and continue to engage more local people in the arts, and reap the economic and social benefits that this investment will bring.
"Our thanks to Arts Council England for continuing to invest in Appetite and our area to realise this shared goal.”
Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “This is such fantastic news. The additional funding will enable more people across Staffordshire to experience and be inspired by culture.
"Over 460,000 people have enjoyed world-class events since 2013 – with more being planned during the next few weeks.
"I’m delighted that the legacy from our shortlisted bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 continues to inspire people to engage in the arts.”