Royal & Derngate boss warns that councils must fund arts

The outgoing boss of Royal & Derngate Martin Sutherland has warned that Northamptonshire’s councils must fund the arts to help the economic recovery of the area.

When the County Council is abolished new unitary authorities will be formed and not all the councillors taking part will have experience of providing arts funding.

Martin said his successor must convince them it is a priority.

“The challenge is for the new unitary authorities who so far have not been investing in arts and culture need to be convinced to do so. Northampton Borough Council has remained committed and makes it possible for us to be here. They have maintained their grants, they are still our landlords and it is a really good relationship. Hopefully they can inspire the other authorities, Daventry and South Northants, about the value of ongoing arts subsidy,” he said.

Martin will take up his new role leading Coventry’s City of Culture project for 2021 but he says his time spent running Royal & Derngate has been “the happiest in my career”.

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