BBC and Arts Councils collaborate on five-year commissioning project to promote UK culture

The BBC and the UK's four arts councils (Arts Council England, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland) are collaborating to deliver Culture UK, a five-year project of arts and culture programmes.

The aim is to attract new audiences and bolster the UK's position as a global creative force by getting the UK excited about the arts, opening funding for content to be shown on the BBC, increasing opportunities for emerging and diverse talent and using technology to promote new experiences in the arts.

Projects include:

  • Artists First, a commissioning fund that will provide £4m in it's first year to artists and arts organisations, especially those makng new works for broadcast or online at the BBC

  • Developing three UK-wide cultural festivals per year with themes including opera and poetry in 2017 and women's suffrage in 2018

  • TV adaptation of the National Theatre's production My Country: A Work In Progress

  • Danny Boyle-directed dance film by Boy Blue Entertainment whom he previously worked with for the London 2012 Olympics

  • Battersea Arts Centre's Performance Live season will showcase 12 artists for a BBC Two series including the Young Vic's production of Paul Mason's Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere; East Wall, choreographed by Hofesh Schecter in the west moat of the Tower of London; Slung Low's Flood: To the Sea; and Taxi Tales by playwright Ishy Din and touring theatre company Tamasha.

Other organisations and individuals creating projects include Bristol Old Vic, Scottish Ballet, Derry Playhouse, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Manchester's Eggs Collective, Galloway Forest Sanctuary Lab, balletLORENT Newcastle National Theatre Artistic Director Rufus Norris and choreographers Crystal Pite and Wayne McGregor.

The BBC will also give coverage to cultural events like Manchester International Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Hay Festival.

BBC director general Tony Hall said at the launch on 4 April 2017: “We’ve come together because we want the UK to be the most culturally engaged and creative country in the world, where everybody, wherever they come from, can take part.

“There are real challenges that make working together more necessary and more urgent than ever. Culture is one of the things that unites us all and expresses our identity. We ignore that at our peril.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England said: “Our creativity in the UK is second to none. This is an extraordinary opportunity for artists and cultural organisations to showcase that creativity to huge and varied audiences through the BBC’s unrivalled local, national and global networks. It’s a fantastic chance for us to get new people involved in the arts and to support cultural organisations in using the latest technology to reach different audiences.”

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