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Blue Elephant Theatre to become a National Portfolio Organisation from 2018

Blue Elephant Theatre logo

Theatre news

BLUE Elephant Theatre in Camberwell was amongst just five new theatre organisations in London to be added to Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations on June 27.

Blue Elephant Theatre is a small fringe theatre located on the Wyndham and Comber Estate in Camberwell, South London. It seeks to offer creative opportunities to those who may not otherwise to be able to access them, through both its Artistic and Participation Departments.

Its Artistic Department works with emerging artists, programming new work across art forms but with a particular focus on theatre and dance. Its Participation Department has developed free high-quality creative, learning and community provision over many years to tackle issues locally which prevent people, especially disadvantaged young people, achieving their potential.

The Blue Elephant’s equal emphasis on professional and participation work is very unusual in London fringe theatre.

Blue Elephant Theatre has been supported by Southwark Council since it opened in 1999 and by many other funders over the years, including Children in Need which has supported its Young People’s Theatre for a decade. In 2014, members of Young People’s Theatre joined Gareth Malone and a number of celebrity singers to record the year’s official BBC Children in Need single which went to number one in the charts.

Recently, as Southwark Council’s Arts and Events’ budgets have been drastically cut, the future of the Blue Elephant has been uncertain at best but the prospect of being a National Portfolio Organisation from 2018 – 2022 provides much-needed stability for the organisation.

Co-Artistic Directors, Niamh de Valera and Jo Sadler-Lovett, are delighted by the news as are all Blue Elephant’s Board of Trustees, staff and volunteers. Niamh says, “We’re absolutely blown away by this news and by the number of people who have come forward to congratulate us this week. The Blue Elephant has touched a lot of people’s lives for the better and we are so relieved and excited that its future is now more secure than ever”.

Blue Elephant Theatre is likely to receive £72,500 for each year of its funding agreement with Arts Council England, roughly 25-30% of its total necessary income. It will continue to need to fundraise in order to ensure its programme of activities can go ahead, including through its recently launched Friends’ Scheme, Mad About the Elephant.