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New touring production by Sadler’s Wells and a UK tour of A Monster Calls receive Arts Council England funding

As part of the Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants funding programme, £630,660 has been awarded to Sadler’s Wells for an ambitious three-year hip-hop project, Breakin’ Out, and £213,500 for a UK tour of The Old Vic’s critically acclaimed, Olivier Award-winning adaptation of Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls.

Joyce Wilson, London Area Director, Arts Council England, said:

“These National Lottery funded touring productions will connect artists, venues and audiences at a national scale, providing more people with the opportunity to see world-class dance and theatre right on their doorstep. I look forward to seeing these projects develop, and the benefits they will bring to people up and down the country.”

Building on the legacy and 15 years of experience, Breakin’ Convention has provided progression routes for hip hop artists through professional development and education programmes, while attracting diverse, increasing audiences to its festivals. Through this National Lottery Project Grant, Breakin’ Out will continue this work through grassroots partnerships, 34 performances on two national tours, and artist development opportunities.

The two national tours will head to Norwich, Blackpool, Doncaster, Canterbury, Brighton, Birmingham and more in both 2020 and 2022.

Alistair Spalding, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Sadler’s Wells, said: “The Breakin’ Out project builds on all the activity delivered by our Breakin’ Convention team in the last 16 years and responds to research carried out with artists, programmers and hip hop NPOs. We’re absolutely delighted that, through the Arts Council’s support, over the next three years the programme will engage over a thousand artists and large audiences across the country, strengthening the UK infrastructure for hip hop and widening its reach.”

Jonzi D, Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Artist and artistic director of Breakin’ Convention, said: “Breakin’ Convention has been a catalyst in the exposure and development of hip hop in the theatre. A hunger from artists and audiences has been created! We have a responsibility to continue supporting hip hop culture and this funding will enable us to strengthen the sector, and to prepare for the opening of Sadler’s Wells’ hip-hop theatre academy in 2022.”

The Old Vic’s critically acclaimed Olivier-Award winning adaptation of Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls, in association with Bristol Old Vic, will be produced by Jonathan Church Productions, Global Creatures and Chichester Festival Theatre.  Direct by Sally Cookson and adapted from Patrick Ness’ piercing novel (inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd), the show is about love, life and healing, and premiered to rave reviews and stimulated conversations about the widespread themes of grief and mental health. Through this funding awarded to Jonathan Church Productions, they will bring these highly relevant topics to theatres across the UK from February 2020. A Monster Calls is an Old Vic production in association with Bristol Old Vic.

Matthew Warchus, Artistic Director, The Old Vic, said: ‘We were privileged to have had such dedicated and committed partners with us from the earliest stages of this project and are thrilled to be working with Jonathan Church Productions, Global Creatures and Chichester Festival Theatre to tour this Old Vic production in association with Bristol Old Vic. I’m delighted that now, with the support of Arts Council England, people throughout the UK will have the chance to experience this extraordinary show.’

Jonathan Church, Director, Jonathan Church Productions, said: “We’re thrilled to have received support from Arts Council England to tour the Olivier award-winning production of A Monster Calls, adapted from Patrick Ness’ critically acclaimed novel. All of the organisations and individuals involved in this production are passionate about bringing this important story to audiences across the UK. With the Arts Council’s support, we will deliver a tailored programme of outreach activity, host access performances and create opportunities for a wider audience to experience this exceptional production.”

For more information about Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants, click here.

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