Cast, Doncaster’s flagship theatre will continue to receive investment of £320,000 per year from 2018 to 2022 by Arts Council England following a funding decision for National Portfolio Organisations announced on 27 June 2017.

The charity, which welcomed over 90,000 people last year, has since opening in 2013, enlivened the cultural landscape of England’s largest borough with free outdoor spectacular events, Northern focused commissions, world premieres, new-writing, strategic partnerships and a thriving participation programme.

Deborah Rees, Director of Cast Comments: ‘The Arts Council England’s continued endorsement joins the growing voices resonating across Doncaster for the strength of cultural institutions as the economic and social change makers of the town. Cast’s diverse programme of work, which continues to attract and develop new audiences across the borough, is breathing new life into a place once ranked seventh from the bottom in England for cultural engagement. Given the national context within which the charity continues to be ambitious, relevant and transformative, Cast’s continued sustainability and growth remains our biggest challenge. What we have set out in our National Portfolio bid, is a confident dedication to this town, to improve and enrich the lives of local people through performance and participation in the arts. It’s about giving people the dignity and equal opportunity of access they have the right to obtain. We’re committed to bringing people together to be proud of their town and recognise the arts as part of their shared experience.’  

The charity, which continues to be part of Arts Council England's National Portfolio, has received much praise nationally and locally for its approach to accessibility. Cast is the UK’s only theatre to present a fully BSL integrated pantomime, and the only theatre in Yorkshire with a fully accessible Changing Places toilet, making its performances and workshops accessible for disabled people in a borough where levels of disability and work limiting illness are 23% higher than the UK average. Cast has been successful in a range of fundraising initiatives to date, including raising £10,000 to fund free tickets and bursaries as part of its dedication to removing barriers to accessing great culture in Doncaster.

Following the Arts Council’s Catalyst match funding scheme, which the charity was awarded in 2016, Cast has made significant advances in attracting private funding and building a strong case for philanthropic support. This underpins the Company’s missions to enrich the creative and cultural life of its communities and contribute to Doncaster’s positive story and progressive future.

Deborah Rees continues: ‘Cast plans for a confident, impactful future, and we look ahead to building on our successful partnership working across Doncaster with big aspirations.’