Utopia Theatre Limited secures new Arts Council England funding
The independent theatre group is set to receive £84,900
Arts Council England is investing £84,900 in Utopia Theatre through its Elevate fund. This money will support Utopia Theatre to develop its work creating exceptional African theatre for Sheffield’s diverse artists and communities.
Utopia Theatre is an artist-led company synthesising African and Western performing traditions to celebrate the meeting of different cultures. The company presents productions in Sheffield and on tour, alongside programmes aimed at developing and promoting Black writers and performers.
The company say they are dedicated to demonstrating the rich cultural heritage of Africa’s theatre canon, and in so doing, dispel stereotypes and encourage authentic voices from the African Diaspora.
Moji Elufowoju, Founder and Artistic Director, Utopia Theatre said: “I’m grateful to the Arts Council for awarding Utopia Theatre this funding. This investment will make a significant difference to the strategic development of our company allowing us to expand our valuable work by offering opportunities to those who need them the most.
“Working with artists from diverse ethnic backgrounds allows our target audiences to take ownership of the work and to be represented in the arts industry. Our ambition in our productions and business plan is to create real social change at grassroots level."
The money comes from the Arts Council’s Elevate fund which is aimed at strengthening the resilience of art organisations making a signi?cant contribution to the Creative Case for Diversity. For Utopia the funding will enable investment in the core team to support the company’s strategic development; invest in fundraising to effectively to support the talent pipeline and contribute measurably to the development of quality work, partnerships and sustained diverse audiences.
Utopia will strengthen its fundraising and marketing expertise and form a Board of high-level theatre practitioners to secure its impact on its communities and the arts sector.
Pete Massey, Director, Arts Council England, North said: “Utopia Theatre are a terrific up-and-coming Sheffield based theatre company that share stories and voices from African communities in Sheffield and beyond.
“We are really pleased to announce that we’ll be supporting their development through our Elevate programme which aims to support a wider range of voices within the Arts in England. I’m really excited to see Utopia Theatre grow and contribute even more to the theatre ecology here in the North and across England.”
Abid Hussain, Director of Diversity at Arts Council England said: “Supporting and nurturing diverse talent is a crucial priority for the Arts Council; through Elevate we are investing in an exciting pipeline of diverse organisations that make a vital contribution to the country’s cultural provision, empowering under-represented voices.
“I’m particularly pleased to note the increased scale of our Elevate funding, which demonstrates our continued ambition to create a more inclusive cultural sector which produces work relevant to people from all communities and backgrounds.”
Dan Bates, Chief Executive of Sheffield Theatres, where Utopia Theatre is a resident company, added: “We’re so delighted that Utopia Theatre have been awarded Elevate funding. Our partnership with Utopia as our resident theatre company, has already had a great impact on Sheffield Theatres.
“We’re looking forward to supporting Moji and her team as they continue to develop the work of their company and I’m excited to partner on a range of opportunities that will reach more diverse people across our city and welcome more ethnic minorities into our workforce, through our doors and on to our stages.”