Arts Council Defends Handing £215,305 to One Drag Performer

Guido continues to be amazed that one drag act received hundreds of thousands of pounds in Coronavirus funds from Arts Council England. Documents published on the Council’s website revealed performer ‘Le Gateau Chocolat’ received more taxpayer cash than orchestras, school foundations, entire museums, galleries, and several festivals. The Department for Culture Media and Sport tells Guido that the process was run independently by an arms-length body, and Ministers have no discretion over funding…

Pressing the matter, Guido got in touch with Arts Council England, who astonishingly defended the decision, telling Guido “The criteria to be awarded a grant are rigorous and we are confident we have applied them in all our decision making.”

The Council went on to say that “Le Gateau Chocolat is a leading Black and LGBTQ+ performer, and one of the few performers in Britain whose work spans across multiple art forms, including drag, cabaret, opera, musical theatre, and live art.” And added that with the enormous pot of free money, Le Gateau will “put on a number of planned shows, which would involve employing a range of freelancers”. How many, and for what purposes have not been specified. 

Read the Arts Council’s statement in full here…

“One of the ambitions of the Culture Recovery Fund is to support a broad range of organisations, no matter what their size, to reopen and deliver work for audiences. The criteria to be awarded a grant are rigorous and we are confident we have applied them in all our decision making.

Organisations offered funding had to demonstrate that their operations were sustainable prior to the pandemic, and that they are at risk of no longer trading viably by March 2021. They also had to demonstrate that they are culturally significant. Awards of all scales and sizes have been made, but in all cases the awards are proportionate to the needs of the organisation.

Le Gateau Chocolat is a leading Black and LGBTQ+ performer, and one of the few performers in Britain whose work spans across multiple art forms, including drag, cabaret, opera, musical theatre, and live art. With this funding Le Gateau Chocolat Ltd will put on a number of planned shows, which would involve employing a range of freelancers to produce and deliver work.”

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