Dorset arts organisations responsible for bringing amazing theatre and outdoor performances to communities have successfully secured a further three years of funding

The Dorchester-based charities Artsreach and Activate Performing Arts will receive funding as part of Arts Council England's national portfolio.

The funding for Artsreach is worth more than £160,000.

Since 1990 Artsreach has provided people living in rural Dorset with access to professional live performances and creative arts projects at affordable prices. Its programme is delivered in partnership with a large network of volunteers and together the scheme coordinates around 150 high quality professional events every year, usually in village halls and often in rurally isolated communities.

Artsreach Director Kerry Bartlett said “This continued support from Arts Council England is invaluable in enabling us to continue to deliver our programme of cultural activity, enriching and positively impacting the lives of people living in rural Dorset by connecting and empowering communities."

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England said of Artsreach: “Their programme of performances and creative workshops connects rural communities, organisations and artists to make a real difference to people’s lives.”

The confirmation of this grant funding, combined with the support Artsreach receives from Dorset Council, will ensure the scheme is able to continue to bring professional live performances and creative arts projects to rural venues.

Meanwhile, Activate brings performing arts to as many people as possible, with a focus on putting on world-class extraordinary events in towns, village squares, on beaches and hilltops.

It was responsible for the recent illuminated puppet parade Peixos in Weymouth in September plus the Sense of Unity spectacle last year, also in the resort, featuring drummers and the giant puppet Dundu.

Kate Wood, Executive and Artistic Director at Activate said: “We are delighted that Arts Council England have recognised our impact in Dorset, the South West and beyond. We know the work we do can open minds, create opportunities and change lives. This funding will ensure we continue to fire imaginations, uplift and connect people through performing arts. We are pleased to join others in the National Portfolio and are mindful that this was a very competitive process, with some receiving less positive news than we did today and our thoughts are with them. We continue to be grateful of Arts Council England’s support, and will ensure the work we do has the greatest impact it can.”

Activate is planning to produce Inside Out Dorset festivals, in 2023 and 2025.