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Money raised in TV phone polls to support theatre performances

MONEY raised from phone polls for shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and The Voice will be used to fund theatrical performances across Scotland.

SUPPORT: Money from phone polls on shows like Strictly Come Dancing will help fund the arts across the UK. Picture: BBC
SUPPORT: Money from phone polls on shows like Strictly Come Dancing will help fund the arts across the UK. Picture: BBC

The BBC Performing Arts Fund (PAF) has revealed that cash collected from telephone voting will be used to provide nine grants to artists north of the Border.

More than £430,000 will be distributed across the UK in the latest round of PAF funding announced today.

Scottish recipients range from Art Link Central, in Stirling, who plan to stage live a performance inside the Scottish Parliament, to a production that will use internet videophone service Skype to include performers who are housebound.

The PAF has also awarded 19 theatre fellowships of £10,000 of funding to aspiring actors who will receive training next year.

Since it was created, the fund has contributed more than £4 million to the UK's performing arts sector in its annual awards of grants for theatre, dance and music.

Performers who have received support in previous years include Oscar-winning singer Adele, whose first recording equipment came courtesy of a grant in 2003 when she was 15, as well as composer Mark Simpson, soprano Katherine Rudge and choreographer James Wilton.

So far the fund has provided money to 1288 individuals and has allocated cash to community groups, with 58 theatre projects benefitting this year.

In total, 77 theatre grants were announced today: 15 to drama groups in north-west England; 17 in London; and nine apiece in south-west England and Scotland.

Among those receiving funding is young director Pete Lannon, who will work with the Edinburgh theatre companies Imaginate and Catherine Wheels.

He said: "I am absolutely delighted to be a BBC Fellow with Imaginate and Catherine Wheels. The chance to work with these companies so closely and so early in my career is incredible, and will undoubtedly have a huge impact on my future. I can't wait to start."

Miriam O'Keeffe, Director of the BBC PAF, said: "I think the arts are really important, socially. As a society it is something that can bring people together.

"We support community groups and emerging talent. The money is made available through phone voting on BBC One entertainment shows, and we have an open applications process.

"This year we are supporting 19 theatre Fellows and 58 community theatre projects with over £430,000 spread right across the UK. Sevent eight per cent of those supported are based outside of London. It's been an amazing year, looking at the breadth of theatre happening around the country."

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