A statement from Action Hero’s board

22 November, 2022

The advisory board of Action Hero were shocked and disappointed to learn that we have been unsuccessful in our application for National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) support from Arts Council England.

Action Hero became an NPO for the first time in the last application round. Deciding to apply for NPO was a big step for the company, and was taken with the view that the opportunity that this regular funding presented was one that would allow for not only a more sustainable approach to the production and presentation of Action Hero's own work, but would also allow them to make a step change in their support for artists and communities in their home city of Bristol, across the UK and internationally.

During the past five years, despite Covid lockdowns and the devastating impacts this had specifically for a touring company, Action Hero were able to premier 5 new commissions working with 25 partner organisations and complete 2 UK and international tours, performing in 36 cities in 20 countries worldwide in venues and beyond. In addition they hosted 22 mid-career artists at a unique residency, awarded £32,000 to five artists/companies to support their career development and spent a further 18% of Action Hero's NPO income directly on other independent artists employed on their projects.  They produced You Had to Be There – the educational resource pack created to reflect on 15 years of practice to share the learning and insight, provided valuable artist-to-artist mentoring to 57 UK based artists & postgrad students, and supported a range of peer companies and organisations in the South West on their own plans and programmes.

As a board, we work with a wide range of artists, companies and venues across the UK. We know that there is huge value in the work Action Hero produces. We know that audiences love the work, and that the company continues to find new ways to reach people and make them think about art and the world in new ways - be that by recording a love song in a motor home, reading an imaginary city law on a billboard or watching a performance in a theatre. We know that artists across the country at all stages of their careers value Action Hero's advocacy, their support, their curiosity and their generosity. And we know that the work that the company does makes a huge contribution to the cultural life of the country, in exactly the way Let's Create (Arts Council England's vision document) describes.

Though we're disappointed that our colleagues at Arts Council England have not felt able to support Action Hero in this funding round, we're not discouraged. Whilst our plans for the next few years will need to change, we hope to still be able to collaborate with people across the world to make new work, to take that work to new places, and to surprise and delight people with that work when they come into contact with it. As Gemma and Jim said - we're unstoppable.

Signed by the Action Hero advisory board:

Nadine Patel (chair)  / Mel Scaffold / Richard Gregory /  Paul Burns / Laura McDermott /Ray Young / Figs in Wigs