Collective Encounters is one of 27 arts organisations to have received a funding lifeline which will enable us to continue delivering theatre for social change in Liverpool this coming year.

Liverpool City Council Cabinet has given the green light to award £2.712 million to 27 cultural organisations as part of the Culture & Arts Investment Programme (CAIP). The city council funding will be invested in theatre, music events, festivals, visual arts and neighbourhood programmes that are representative of, and engage with, Liverpool’s diverse communities.

This means that the vital sector – which boosts the local economy by around £30 million – has experienced no reduction in city council funding and can move forward with delivering events, exhibitions and shows which will help them recover and aim to get back to operating at pre-pandemic levels.

Latest figures presented as part of the Cabinet report show just how hard-hit the city’s art scene was by Covid-19. In 2019/20 the funded organisations reached an audience of 2.7 million, dropping to just over 260,000 in 2020/21. Last year, recovery was slow but venues attracted around 1 million visitors.

During the height of the pandemic the economic impact dropped by almost £5 million and nearly 100 jobs were lost.

Those organisations receiving funding for 2022/23 are:

20 Stories High, Africa Oyé, The Black-E, Collective Encounters, Comedy Trust, DaDa Disability & Deaf Arts, FACT, First Take, Homotopia, Liverpool Irish Festival, Liverpool Biennial, Everyman & Playhouse (LMTT), Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival, Metal Culture, Milapfestival Trust, Merseyside Dance initiative, Open Culture, Open Eye Limited, Pagoda Arts, Royal Court Theatre, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Squash Nutrition, Tate Liverpool, The Bluecoat, Tmesis Theatre, Unity Theatre, Writing on the Wall

The CAIP programme contributes to a number of priorities outlined in the Council Plan which aims to make the city culturally diverse, internationally ambitious, empowered and authentic.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, Councillor Harry Doyle said:

“It goes without saying how valued culture and arts are in Liverpool and I am proud that we are able to invest in organisations which help drive economic growth, boost community pride and promote wellbeing across the city.

“Each of the 27 organisations play a vital role in the cultural fabric of our city – the programmes they curate, events they hold and performances they stage are engaging, entertaining, thought-provoking, boundary-pushing – exactly what Liverpool is renowned for.

“We know that Covid decimated this sector and we want to do as much as we can to help it revive and thrive. It’s an exciting new chapter for the arts in Liverpool and the sector is are ready to welcome back visitors and showcase exceptional talent in an exceptional city.”

This continued funding will contribute to Collective Encounters’ programme of participatory theatre, training and public events in Liverpool from April 2022 – March 2023. We’ll use it redress the inequalities of our time that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. We’ll work with our participants and community partners to tell stories that are often ignored; we’ll bring people together to share ideas, explore difference and find connections; we’ll use theatre to imagine alternatives and to provoke action for equality, justice and human rights.