Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted jointly by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Education and Skills


  The Committee has invited submissions tackling the issues raised by the Committee on the 14 October 2003. DCMS and DfES can contribute the following information on their relationship with the National Youth Music Theatre and Youth Music. The significance of the National Youth Music Theatre within musical theatre—as well as the wider educational scene particularly in enthusing and developing pre-professional musical theatre performers; the contribution of other organisations to these goals;

  The National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT) over many years has enabled very talented young performers to have their first taste of participating in high quality musical productions. Its programmes have given young people invaluable experience of working alongside professional artists and crew, and have provided an important stepping stone into the profession. NYMT has become recognised as an important progression route within the professional musical theatre sector.

  NYMT is one of a number of "flagship" national youth music organisations (NYMOs)[1] that receive funding through Youth Music. Historically, these organisations had tended to fall in the gaps between the arts and education funding systems until, in 2001-02, DCMS officials worked with colleagues from Arts Council England, DfES and Youth Music to broker a joint solution to this problem. This resulted in an agreement between DfES, the Arts Council and Youth Music to designate a pot of funding to support the NYMOs. Details of the fund, which is managed by Youth Music, are attached at Annex 1.

  The aim of the new fund was first to enable the NYMOs to expand, develop and increase access to their excellent artistic, education and training programmes. While NYMT has experienced severe financial difficulties in the past few months, the fund has succeeded in helping to place the other NYMOs on a more secure financial footing.

  The performance of NYMT in meeting its own objectives, contributing to the objectives of its public funders and as a steward of public money.

  Right up until the scale of its present difficulties became apparent, NYMT has continued to produce work of the highest quality and has delivered its objectives agreed with Youth Music. NYMT met all its objectives and satisfied all the conditions of grant for the financial year 2002-03, the last year in which Youth Music funding was provided. Youth Music has assured the Department that no public funds have been mis-spent.

  Youth Music has worked closely with NYMT to help it gain a clear understanding of its financial difficulties, whilst ensuring that their grants have been used in line with the NYMO objectives.

  The problem originated when a significant private funding stream came to an end in 1999 and NYMT did not take action to balance expenditure to reduced income.

  NYMT had also received a grant of £210,000 over three years (1998-2000) from the Lottery-funded Arts 4 Everyone programme towards the costs of a regional development programme. They needed to secure alternative funding to subsidise continuation of this activity.

  In 2001-02 and 2002-03 Youth Music allocated NYMT £20,000 and £136,000 respectively alongside two emergency grants of £35,000 and £70,000 to enable NYMT to continue delivering work towards the objectives.

  Youth Music advised NYMT to make plans for managing their cash flow and deficit, however NYMT seemed reluctant to down scale their activity. In spite of the significant increase in their grant from Youth Music to help towards their deficit, NYMT has not been able to secure the amount of funding needed to continue with their work at previous levels and so have closed the offices to avoid trading insolvently. NYMT is seeking a Company Voluntary Arrangement to deal with its outstanding creditors.

  Youth Music is continuing to work closely with the board of NYMT to agree the best way forward. NYMT may also consider an application to the ACE Recovery Programme.

1   These include the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain, National Association of Youth Orchestras, National Children's Orchestra, National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, National Youth Jazz Association, Music for Youth and the South Asian Music Youth Organisation. Back

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