November 10, 2021

Government Grants for Performing Arts

If you're looking for funding for performing arts, there are many different methods that you may have considered or used to raise funding. These include taking donations, holding fundraising events, applying for grants, and more.

Below, we've curated a list of where to find government grants and some non-government grants that are currently available to UK arts organisations.

1. The Arts Councils

Naturally, we have to first mention the arts councils. Which arts council you should approach depends on which country you're located in. Within England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the arts councils work in partnership with artists, arts organisations, and public policy to enable arts to better enable arts and culture. For each arts council, you can find out more about the grants they offer at the following addresses:

  1. Arts Council of England: They offer different grants available to individual artists and practitioners, cultural organisations, and other groups. So whether you're producing dance, music, theatre, or something else, it's worth reviewing what the Arts Council of England is currently offering. A list of some of the grants they currently offer can be found on their website.
  2. Arts Council of Wales: If your work is based in Wales, there are likely grants from the Welsh arts council that you should consider. Currently, they're offering several different funding opportunities for smaller proposals, larger ones, international work, and other types of work too.
  3. Arts Council of Northern Ireland: The arts council in Northern Ireland do routinely open new grants, so if your work is based there, it's always worth reviewing what grants they are currently offering.
  4. Creative Scotland: There's a multitude of grants available on the Creative Scotland website, many of which are offered on an ongoing basis.
  5. Arts Council of Ireland: Outside of the UK, if your work is based in Ireland, you may want to consider looking at the Irish arts council's website for a multitude of grants.

2. The National Lottery

The National Lottery funds work across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and the UK as a whole. They work with people to develop ideas and create opportunities. They have teams all over the UK, within each country.

They fund charities, voluntary organisations, and projects that improve the health, education and environment of communities. Their website includes a full regularly updated list of all the grants that they offer.

3. Nesta's Arts & Culture Finance Fund

Nesta is an independent charity that was previously a government department called the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. They offer blended loan/grant funding for cultural projects. This is worth considering if the contribution margin that your project will be generating can cover the loan portion of the funding.

4. Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is one of the UK's largest independent funders. They were founded in 1961, and their active portfolio contains over 900 grants. They are highly transparent about the grants that they give. Details of many of the projects they've funded can be found within the annual reports they release.

Approximately 75% of the grants that they fund go towards arts projects. You can find out about how to apply for their grants on their website.

5. Youth Music

Youth Music is a UK-wide charity funded predominantly by the National Lottery via Arts Council England. They mainly fund young people living in areas of social and economic need.

However, they don't typically fund dance and drama. Instead, the charity funds music activities run by not-for-profit organisations for people aged up to 18. That doesn't mean the music has to be performed in front of a young audience, but it does mean your project should be supporting young people. They fund projects of hugely different sizes, from as small as £2,000, to upwards of £200,000.

6. The Paul Hamlyn Foundation

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation are one of the UK's largest independent funders. Its mission is to use its resources to create opportunities and support social change. To do this, they partner with inspiring organisations and individuals.

The projects they fund revolve around creating social change and overcoming inequality. Their grants are organised around a set of key strategic priorities. Each priority has a grant available for it, so it's worth reviewing these priorities and identifying which one your project best fits under.

7. The Foyle Foundation

The Foyle Foundation is a grant-making trust which distributes grants to other UK charities. They do not offer grants to individuals. For arts organisations, they run both larger grant schemes and smaller grant schemes which they detail on the main page of their website.

8. The Belgae Trust

The Belgae Trust is a family-run charity that collectively manages the trust. They support a range of different causes relating to the personal interest of their board members. This includes education, IT, health, the environment, and of course, the arts. To apply for one of their grants, you need to download an interest form from their website and email them directly.

Where can I find even more grants?

This shortlist is only the tip of the grant-iceberg. Across the internet, there are some really great resources available online that are continually updated with new funding opportunities. We would highly recommend that you give these resources a look too:

Daniel Hallissey's Funding List

Daniel Hallissey is a freelance writer & creative who writes material for fringe, small, and medium-scale productions. On his website, he also maintains a comprehensive list of funding options for the arts. This listing is both thorough and up-to-date, so it's definitely worth checking out.

My Funding Central

My Funding Central is a search engine for funding opportunities. On their website, you can find funds for charities, voluntary organisations, community groups, and social enterprises. There is a subscription fee to this service, although the service can be free for smaller organisations.

Good Luck!

We're planning on writing more blogs on contributed income sources in the future, so stay tuned for more information to come. If there are any topics you want us to cover in more detail, you can reach us at

Written by Drake Deaton
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