Cornish arts charity to close

04 Jun 2021 News

Kneehigh Theatre, a Cornwall-based arts charity, is to close due to “recent changes in artistic leadership”.

In a statement on its website, the charity said the change in leadership had led to questions “as to whether Kneehigh could sustain their vision going forward.”

This has led the charity to decide that “it was better and more responsible to close Kneehigh and ensure an orderly wind down.”

As a result, all of its plans for this year and beyond have been cancelled.

Financially solvent

Kneehigh Theatre said that is solvent and able to meet all its obligations.

According to its latest annual report and accounts, the charity had an income of £1.7m last year and spent £1.8m.

It held unrestricted reserves of £254,819 and restricted funds of £247,655 at 31 March 2020.

The Charity Commission data also shows that the charity had 10 employees, seven trustees and 44 volunteers.

The charity acknowledged that the past year has a particularly difficult time for those working in the arts, performance and theatre.

However, it said its “financial stability has enabled the company to continue to create work throughout the pandemic.”

It added that is “grateful to their principal funder Arts Council England and for the significant recent support received from the Culture Recovery Fund, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Coastal Communities Fund, Cornwall Council, and Garfield Weston Foundation.”


The charity’s physical assets, such as sets, props and costumes, will be gifted in line with charity law and Charity Commission guidelines.

Kneehigh hopes that its digital assets will remain available and is working to ensure that this is the case.

These digital assets include the Kneehigh Cookbook, an online resource that details how the theatre group had produced its shows.

‘An incredible journey filled with joy and delight’

Hedda Archbold, chair of the board, acknowledged that “this is a difficult time for the Kneehigh team” and thanked them “for the excellent work they have done” and for “their passion and commitment”.
“Last Saturday, the brilliant Random Acts of Art had its final performance,” she said. “The project has been a high point on which to end. These bold, playful, humorous and thought-provoking creative works brought together dozens of collaborators all across Cornwall, and delighted audiences out and about as well as online. Eclectic, anarchic, inspiring and inclusive, it embodied the spirit of Kneehigh we have loved for the past 40 glorious years. Despite the challenges of the past year, it has been an incredible journey filled with joy and delight.”

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