Top quality arts heads out west

By Alan Cleaver

JoeSellman-LeavaMANY people think West Cumbria is left out when it comes to state-sponsored high quality arts. And they’re right!

With the Arts Council giving to London folk about £50 per head each year, West Cumbrians get about £4 a year – there is a tremendous imbalance and unfairness that should be put right.

That’s unlikely to happen soon but in the meantime there’s an organisation trying to do its bit for arts in the rural communities.

It’s called Arts Out West, and they help fund some top class acts to come to “the end of the world”.

Their 2016 programme is just kicking off and you’ll find artists at venues such as Muncaster Parish Hall, Gosforth Public Hall, The Kirkgate at Cockermouth, and many others.

In May for example you’ll find Patchwork Opera going to Gosforth Public Hall (on May 7).

You will rarely find a chance to hear opera (with notable exceptions provided by Rosehill Theatre) but Opera A La Carte is promised on May 7 with works by Verdi, Mozart, Puccini and Gilbert & Sullivan.

This is a chance to introduce yourself or younger members of the family to opera, as the music will be some of the more ‘tuneful bits’ and it will be performed in a quirky and gentle style.

If drama is more your thing then watch out for Joe Sellman-Leava (above) on May 27 at The Beggar’s Theatre, Millom.

His show, Labels, is a winner of a Fringe First and a Holden Street Theatres Award, but you can see it just down the road at Millom. It’s a funny, moving and true story about mixed heritage and multiculturalism in the 1990s.

Pick up an Arts Out West leaflet from various outlets or visit for more information. The London-bias for arts funding is still outrageous but at least Arts Out West can soften the blow!