The Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced today that our Extraordinary Bodies partners Diverse City will receive critical support of over £270,000 as part of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. Most significantly, some of the money will be an investment in a ‘Big Top’ tent to house flagship integrated circus company Extraordinary Bodies.

The tent will allow us to recover with a safe, flexible, mobile space for shows, community projects and rehearsal, bringing D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled creatives together to create original work for and in communities in the south west and nationally. 

The news is part of today’s announcement of the first tranche of the Culture Recovery Fund – £257m of funding for 1385 theatres, arts venues, museums and cultural organisations across the country.

Speaking today, Diverse City’s co Artistic director Jamie Beddard said: “At a time when disabled people and artists are fighting to remain visible, to maintain the gains previously made and to ensure our needs and perspectives are central to cultural recovery, we’re delighted to have been successful.  This gives us an opportunity to drive real change, enhance projects on our slate, consolidate and make new alliances and continue to push for the world we seek.”

Speaking today, Cirque Bijou and Extraordinary Bodies co Artistic Director, Billy Alwen said: “The announcement today that Extraordinary Bodies has received support will have a major impact in the way circus by D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled artists in the UK is toured and enjoyed. It will put D/deaf and disabled circus artists at the forefront of taking circus to new audiences in the heart of their communities.” 

Speaking today, Diverse City and Extraordinary Bodies co Artistic Director Claire Hodgson MBE said:
“At last we can breathe a bit and move into a more secure future. March 2020 cancelled all our performances and tours leaving us and all our freelance professionals in a precarious financial place. Now we’ll be able to restart with those creatives, work safely with Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists and reach isolated creative communities. We will have a brilliant platform from which to relaunch and contribute to a wider, critical social recovery.”

Arts Council England Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery. “These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

Please contact: – 07952 619763 to arrange interviews with Claire Hodgson MBE and Jamie Beddard, Diverse City co Artistic Directors; Billy Alwen co Artistic Director Extraordinary Bodies and Cirque Bijou.

Photo: ‘What am I Worth’ at National Theatre River Stage 2018; photo Rob Harris