FEATURE: Multi-million pound investment for Sheffield's arts and culture scene

Youngsters visiting the Beneath Your Feet exhibition at Weston Park Museum.
Youngsters visiting the Beneath Your Feet exhibition at Weston Park Museum.

A cash windfall of more than £13 million will enhance Sheffield's reputation as a 'Crucible of Culture' in the UK.

That is the opinion of joyous arts leaders after 11 different cultural organisations across the city were handed National Portfolio Organisation status and grants ranging from £160, 000 to £5.2 million.

Kim Streets, chief executive of Museums Sheffield.

Kim Streets, chief executive of Museums Sheffield.

The money will come from the Arts Council with each organisation receiving a chunk of the cash in stages over a four-year period between April 2018 and April 2022.

This represents a 21 per cent increase in funding for the sector and major beneficiaries include Sheffield Theatres Trust with £5, 119, 460 and Sheffield Museums with £3.2 million.

Smaller organisation to benefit include AA2A Limited Sheffield which was awarded £160, 000 and Sheffield Doc/Fest received £563, 000.

Pete Massey, Yorkshire and the Humber director for the Arts Council, described Sheffield as a 'Crucible of Culture' and added: "Sheffield has a fantastic history, but is looking to create a future that is even better and brighter than the past. And we at the Arts Council are here to support the city - and the people of Sheffield - in its ambitious plans moving forward.

Laura Sillars.

Laura Sillars.

"There are exciting times ahead for Sheffield and the North, and we’re glad to be a part of it."

Lord Robert Kerslake, chair of Sheffield Theatres Trust, said the organisation will use the money to deliver a wide range of theatre programmes and workshops at its venues including the Crucible and Lyceum.

Dan Bates, chief executive of Sheffield Theatres, added: "This funding gives us a solid foundation on which to grow and diversify work over the next four years."

Museums Sheffield, which runs the Millennium Gallery, Graves Gallery and Weston Park Museum, will receive £600,000 a year for the next four years and this will replace the Arts Council's Major Partner Museum funding stream, which ends in March next year.

Auditions at the Crucible Theatre.

Auditions at the Crucible Theatre.

It will be used to fund a wide range of events, including the Live Lates scheme - a series of exhibitions which are showcased across the city's museums in the evening outside of normal opening hours.

Museums Sheffield has also secured an additional £800, 000 for a new partnership project with the Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, which runs Kelham Island, Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, and Shepherd Wheel museums.

This will see both organisations work together on joint marketing projects and a series of co-exhibitions. A volunteer scheme giving members of the public chance to gain work experience at a range of different sites will also be rolled out.

Kim Streets, chief executive of Museums Sheffield, said: "NPO funding will help Museums Sheffield deliver a vibrant programme that we hope will engage and reflect Sheffield’s diverse communities, showcasing the very best art, culture, history and heritage in the city."

Operation Crucible.

Operation Crucible.

Helen Featherstone, director of Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, added: "We are also delighted that through this NPO funding Arts Council England will support the two organisations to work in partnership, to share their complimentary skills and expertise over the next four years."

Site Gallery will receive £1, 256, 428 over the next four years - a funding increase of nearly £500, 000 compared to their previous funding deal.

Project leaders will use the money to accelerate the building expansion programme already underway at the Brown Street art gallery, which is due to reopen in Spring 2018. There will also be a wider programme of exhibitions.

Artistic director Laura Sillars said: "This funding supports big ambitions to bring important international artists into the city for the first time and generate new opportunities for our incredible local creative community. Audiences in the city will feel that change in scale with an expanded public offer.”

Smaller organisations to benefit include AA2A Limited Sheffield, which received £160, 000 to continue rolling out its visual art education programme across schools and colleges.

Sheffield Doc/Fest has won £563, 000 to help secure its future over the next four years.

However one organisation, the Theatre Deli in Sheffield, expressed disappointment at being overlooked for Arts Council funding.

The company offers a range of theatre productions from its base on The Moor and has now launched an online fundraising appeal as part of a bid to move to a new venue.

Roland Smith, co-artistic director, said: "We are, of course, disappointed with the Arts Council announcement, particularly as our conversations with them had seemed so positive. The demands on Arts Council by larger and more established organisations means that it is difficult for younger, local and regional arts organisations to break through."

Sarah Sharp, producer at Theatre Deli Sheffield, added: “We are asking our supporters to pledge what they can to help support Theatre Deli in the short term as we move to a new Sheffield venue. Once that is established we will be able to revise our future plans and look to other income sources.”

A number of other arts organisations received multi-million pound grants across South Yorkshire.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Barnsley received £5, 250, 584, Cast in Doncaster was awarded £1, 280, 000 for theatre projects and Barnsley Museums got £1, 866, 000 to continue its visitor attraction projects at popular venues including Canon Hall.

Who got what:-


AA2A Limited Sheffield £160, 000

And Other Stories Publishing CIC Sheffield £296, 000

Eclipse Theatre Company Sheffield £998, 004

Forced Entertainment Ltd Sheffield £998, 000

Sheffield Doc/Fest £563, 000

Sheffield Museums £3, 200, 000

Site Gallery Sheffield £1, 256, 428

Third Angel Sheffield £480, 000

Yorkshire Artspace Society Ltd Sheffield £287, 480

Music in the Round £571, 852

Sheffield Theatres Trust Ltd £5, 119, 460


Yorkshire Sculpture Park £5, 250, 584

Barnsley Civic Enterprise Ltd £640, 000

Barnsley Museums £1, 866, 000

Brass Band England Barnsley £828, 000


Cast Doncaster £1, 280, 000

Doncaster Community Arts £523, 524

Doncaster Heritage Services £400, 000

Higher Rhythm Doncaster £216, 000

Jazz North Doncaster £760, 000


Grimm and Co Rotherham £460, 000

Rotherham Open Arts Renissance £281, 756