Belfast Telegraph

Arts community shocked as Northern Ireland budget cuts bombshell is revealed

By Rebecca Black

The arts community has been left reeling after a number of institutions were told their funding would be cut.

The cuts were handed down by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Mary-Clare Deane, chief executive of the Grand Opera House, said they were facing a budget cut from the key funder of £100,000.

She said this money went towards the maintenance of their historic 120-year-old building.

Tinderbox Theatre Company in Belfast said its Arts Council funding was being cut by 44%.

Last year they received £213,400, but last night they were notified that this was proposed to be cut by £94,900 to £118,500.

A spokesman said they were shocked by the proposed cut.

The Kabosh Theatre Company also in Belfast received news of a 44% reduction in funding from the Arts Council.

"We currently receive £107,000, applied for £115,000, but were offered only £60,000," a spokesman said.

"This £115,000 investment would have supported three full-time positions, employed over 100 project staff throughout the year and facilitated high-quality and meaningful theatre reaching an audience of approximately 13,190."

Meanwhile, the website Culture NI announced last night that it will be forced to close next month after losing its funding.

"For the last 10 years, Culture NI has brought you the latest news, views and events from the Northern Ireland arts and cultural scene," a spokesman said.

"The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has now cut Culture NI's core funding.

"This devastating news means that the Culture NI website and social networks will regrettably be forced to close from April 2015."

This comes a day after Queen's University said it could no longer fund the Belfast Festival at Queen's.

It has been running for more than 50 years.

The university said its decision was taken because of financial challenges.

Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilín said her department did not have any money to support the festival.

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