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Groundbreaking Appetite arts programme awarded funding for three more years

Groundbreaking Appetite arts programme awarded funding for three more years

18th January 2019

An arts programme that aims to get more people to experience and be inspired by the arts in Stoke-on-Trent has been awarded a £500,000 Arts Council England grant to continue its ambitious work for a further three years.

The Appetite programme, led by New Vic Theatre, has been awarded further funding as part of Arts Council England‘s Creative People and Places Programme, which aims to transform arts activity and involvement locally and seek to get more people in the city engaged in the arts.

A major investment in the cultural life of Stoke-on-Trent, continuing to partner with the New Vic Theatre on the next three years of the Appetite project are: Partners in Creative Learning (PiCL), 6 Towns Radio and Staffordshire University, working alongside Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Beginning in 2013, over the past 6 years Appetite has brought spectacular family-friendly arts events to the city’s streets, parks, hospitals and more, all with the aim of getting more people to experience and be inspired by the arts. More than 450,000 people have enjoyed a feast of world-class arts including The Enchanted Chandelier, which saw a floating, musical chandelier bewitch sold-out audiences in Central Forest Park, Hanley; performances from the Royal Opera House, reimagined for the streets of Hanley at The Big Feast ‘17 and The Big Feast ‘18 and renowned installation Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram, presented as part of The Big Feast ’18 at King’s Hall in Stoke and visited by over 9000 people from across the city and beyond.

Theresa Heskins, New Vic Theatre’s Artistic Director, said: “Stoke is a city on the up. Making it a great place to live and work is fundamental to the New Vic’s mission, and this award is testament to the tremendous success of the Appetite programme in helping to achieve this. We’re thrilled that we’ll be able to continue working with our partners and with local communities to engage more local people with the arts and enable and support additional, exciting large scale activities like the upcoming Light Night Stoke-on-Trent. Our thanks to Arts Council England for continuing to invest in our area to realise this goal.

Councillor Abi Brown, Deputy Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “This is such fantastic news. The additional funding will enable more people in Stoke-on-Trent to experience and be inspired by culture – and continues to build on the legacy from our shortlisted bid to be UK City of Culture 2021. We have already enjoyed a lively and diverse menu of world-class cultural events, which more than 450,000 people in Stoke-on-Trent have seen since 2013 – and long may it continue.”

Appetite Director Gemma Thomas said: “We’re thrilled to receive this investment from Arts Council England into the Appetite programme and our work in, with and for Stoke-on-Trent. This continued investment alongside partnership investment will see our work with local people as part of our Supper Club continue as we develop and deliver our annual festival in Stoke-on-Trent city centre, The Big Feast. We’ve made positive, long-term change for the arts and culture and crucially, people’s lives in the local area. We look forward to seeing what we can achieve by March 2022.”

 Appetite is currently working in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Cultural Forum on Light Night Stoke-on-Trent, taking place from Thursday 31 Jan – Sat 2 February in Burslem Town Centre. Free to attend, Light Night Stoke-on-Trent is the first event as part of the legacy from the city’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021. Find out more at

Article by Claire Walker

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