Sheffield theatre company gets £85,000 in push for greater diversity

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Nearly £85,000 has been given to a Sheffield drama company in a bid to make the city’s cultural scene more diverse.

Utopia Theatre – a company-in-residence at Sheffield Theatres that stages productions with black actors and writers – has been awarded £84,900 by Arts Council England, which it will use to develop its fundraising, form partnerships and grow its audiences.

The investment has come from ACE’s Elevate programme, which is distributing £4.3 million of National Lottery money to 45 organisations across the country.

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The latest round of Elevate grants aims to address the under-representation of people with disabilities and from BAME – black and minority ethnic – backgrounds in the arts.

Moji Kareem, artistic director of Utopia TheatreMoji Kareem, artistic director of Utopia Theatre
Moji Kareem, artistic director of Utopia Theatre

In October Utopia Theatre and Sheffield Theatres co-hosted the Spirit of Africa festival, which showcased drama, film, fashion, music and more. Led by artistic director Moji Kareem, Utopia’s upcoming work includes Here’s What She Said To Me, by Oladipo Agboluaje and directed by Moji Elufowoju, which will be staged from June 18 to July 4 in the Crucible Studio.

Pete Massey, director for Arts Council England in the north, said: “Utopia Theatre is a terrific up-and-coming Sheffield based theatre company that share stories and voices from African communities in Sheffield and beyond.

“We are really pleased to announce that we’ll be supporting their development through our Elevate programme which aims to support a wider range of voices within the arts in England.

“I’m really excited to see Utopia Theatre grow and contribute even more to the theatre ecology here in the north and across England.”