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Merlin Theatre secures crucial Arts Council grant

AFTER enduring severe funding cuts over the past two years, the Merlin Theatre in Frome is to receive £28,000 of vital funding after winning a grant from the Arts Council.

The new funds, which will be spread over the next three years, will enable the Merlin to undertake work to engage with its audience and develop future programmes “with them, not for them”.

Director Claudia Pepler said the work will extend the range of performances experienced at the Merlin. She said, “This news couldn’t have come at a better time for the Merlin. We have had to restructure the organisation following severe cuts.

“This grant is absolutely essential to support our programme as we have no core support. It will enable  us to present a full varied programme; building our audiences, attracting more people to the theatre and the town, which will in turn impact on local businesses and other people and organisations working within the arts.

“The Arts Council have praised our programme with the mix of professional and non-professional work we present and the work that we carry out with young people and community groups. They are very impressed with how we have managed to grow audiences in the current economic climate. However, we will need to continue our fundraising as this grant is for a specific use and we still have bills to pay!”

Acting chair of trustees Hilary Gilmore said, “This is a huge endorsement of our programme from the Arts Council. The theatre has flourished under the direction of Claudia and this, along with the trustees’ and volunteers’ good work has been recognised by this grant.”

The grant will also support visiting companies and artists, ensuring a broad programme of exciting work.

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