Reinvent Performing Arts: extra support for arts organisations' plans to re-open

Theatre Absolute

As part of our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committing an extra £1.5m for Reinvent Performing Arts funding. With this additional funding, we hope to support current grantees working in the performing arts and to provide a boost to their existing plans for re-opening over the next year.

We know how especially challenging the pandemic has been for organisations and freelancers working in the performing arts. It has been particularly encouraging to hear how many of our grantees have adapted during the pandemic to reimagine the way they work: what they deliver, how they present their work, or how they engage with audiences.

We want to acknowledge the difficulties organisations working in the performing arts have faced due to lost ticket income and the additional challenges they have to reopen including providing reassurance to audiences and testing new models for social distancing. So, in addition to our regular funding, we are committing an extra £1.5m to help with arts organisations’ existing plans to re-open and deepen the long-term impact of the work that is carried out. These plans may have come from an approach they have adopted during the past year that could be further developed. They may also point to new ways to connect with and sustain more diverse audiences and artists in the future.

With this funding, we want to give a boost to the most inventive, useful and beneficial examples of this across the organisations we fund. This support is for work with audiences, which involves freelancers and/or strengthens plans for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Who can apply for this funding?

This funding is open to 100 organisations we have supported within the past year that are engaged in professional performing arts – by providing direct delivery to audiences as producers, programmers or venues. All 100 organisations have been sent a letter with details about the funding and an invitation to apply.

To make our contributions to re-opening plans meaningful, we have opted to make about 40 grants (average size £37,500). Our ambition is to enable the wider sector to adapt and thrive in a changing environment. We hope that what we learn - about this way of funding as well as about models of audience-facing activity - will inform future practice and support diversity in the sector.

More information on the funding including our process for making decisions is below.

If we have supported your work in the past year and meet the criteria below, but have not heard from us, please get in touch by emailing by 4 May.

Reinvent Performing Arts funding: in brief

Grant size

Minimum: £10,000 – Maximum £60,000


To be spent during the next 12-18 months

Process for submitting a request

All those invited to apply for the funding will need to answer three questions (listed in our FAQs), submitted using an online form.


Requests must be submitted by 17 May 2021. Decisions will be made by 30 June 2021.


There will be no additional formal reporting.


This funding is open to organisations we have funded within the past year that are engaged in professional performing arts – either by providing direct delivery to audiences as producers, programmers or venues.

We are looking to support work which is:

  • Inventive: builds on learning from the impact of the pandemic
  • Useful: offers potential learning for other organisations in the sector; has the potential to make a lasting difference to your work
  • Beneficial: supports and employs freelancers, and/or strengthens your commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion; supports the audiences and communities you serve

For more information and questions, see our see our FAQs. You can also watch our Q&A webinar on the funding.

Below, we share one of the many stories we've been excited by and helped to inspire this funding.


HOME Manchester

HOME is an arts centre in Manchester, housing two theatre spaces, a gallery, cinemas, a restaurant and bars. As part of its post-pandemic strategy, HOME created ‘Homeground’, a new outdoor venue close to HOME's building. Homeground will enable HOME to offer a fifteen-week programme of live performance, film and comedy, providing a transition back to indoor cultural events for audiences and artists. It also has the potential to widen its engagement with both new audiences and participants. The new outdoor venue will provide HOME with earned income as well as enable it to test outdoor events, which could have a significant impact on its future plans. It will also support a number of freelance artists and technicians.


You might be interested in

  • Sunset on a reservoir as viewed through reeds.

    Increasing Funding Plus support for wellbeing

    We are committed to targeting more Funding Plus support towards preventing burnout and improving wellbeing for the people we fund.

    Read more
  • SharpFutures Content Creatives group at The Sharp Project - copyright SharpFutures

    Esmée’s allocation to social investment increased to £60m

    We are delighted to announce that Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is increasing our allocation to social investment to £60m.

    Read more
  • Rainbow Migration-Rainbow Migration service users at Pride in London 2023-2

    Diversity, equity and inclusion: progress in 2023

    A summary of key actions we have taken during 2023 to make progress on our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

    Read more