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Jumped Up Theatre – in it for the Long Haul

Jumped Up Theatre

Jumped Up Theatre has been part of the Peterborough landscape for quite some time now, but financing for this kind of arts project isn’t always easy to come by. Earlier this year, Kate Hall from Jumped Up Theatre learned that she and her team had received a grant that will help secure their future for a full three years, enabling them to keep providing creative experiences for the whole of the city...

So, tell us all about Jumped Up Theatre’s good news!
We have just become a ‘National Portfolio Organisation’, back in April, and this is actually the first time that there’s been a completely Peterborough-focused organisation funded by the Arts Council. We already have Metal, but they are part of a national company. We have the Landmark Trust, but they’re obviously buildings and also they’re based in Devon, and we have Eastern Angles who are Ipswich-based. However, we’re about Peterborough – and nothing else. Jumped Up is actually 30 years old this year – it was my graduate company, and I was funded to take a show to Edinburgh with my final year show, had to come up with a name and sort of started from there. After moving here, 20 years ago, I started to do more community- and site-specific work, from around 2006; – and it’s been growing since then! Over the last ten to 15 years, we’ve become an exclusively Peterborough-based organisation, and we’re changing the stories that are told in Peterborough.

Kate HallCan you explain what a ‘national portfolio organisation’ is for us?
If we have an idea for, say, a play that’s going to be about Central Park, you can apply for funding to do that one thing. Now we’re a National Portfolio Organisation, or NPO, this means we put forward a proposal to the Arts Council for a three-year plan and happily we were accepted. Some companies have been National Portfolio Organisations for over 20 years, but there were a lot of new organisations in this round because they’re all part of the Levelling Up agenda. It does give us a chance to breathe – to be honest; if we hadn’t got this new support
I can’t see how we would have continued, because it’s pretty tough out there. We have been fortunate up till now, as we’ve been part of two national funding programmes that kept us
going, especially during the pandemic.

Being an NPO will only fund 50% of what we’re planning, so I’ll have to source the rest of that money, but it does give us a chance to breathe and think a bit more strategically.

Jumped Up TheatreWhat’s your wish list for making the most of this opportunity?
We’ll be looking for lots of community partners to be part of a programme of events, maybe they will put something on themselves, or we will support them with marketing and that kind of thing. We want to develop the habit of participation, bringing people and communities together, and also start looking at which stories get told in the city, because storytelling is how you shape identity – it’s how you look towards the future and how you understand your past. It happens in our homes, it happens in our streets, it happens in our schools, it happens in our community centres. I’m hoping to create a festival that will do that, particularly with the aim of engaging young people with their future.

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