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Arts Council awards 20 million to South Bank arts institutions

Arts Council England has announced capital funding of more than £20 million for major projects at two of the South Bank's key cultural institutions: the National Theatre and Southbank Centre.

The National Theatre has been awarded 17.5 million for its 70 million NT Future project to open up its South Bank building, creating new opportunities for public participation.

Key aspects include a new learning centre, access to backstage areas, modernised facilities for artistic and digital innovation, more welcoming public spaces and significant improvements in environmental and financial sustainability.

Meanwhile Southbank Centre will receive a development grant of 3.32 million to help it work up plans for the 43 million refurbishment of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery complex, bringing them up to the standard of the Royal Festival Hall.

Earlier this month Southbank Centre named the shortlisted lead architects for the project. The competing practices are Allies and Morrison, Bennetts Associates Architects, Eric Parry Architects, Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios, Grimshaw Architects LLP, Heneghan Peng Architects OMA and Van Heyningen and Haward. The selected firm will be revealed in the autumn.

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