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The BBC Performing Arts Fund was an independent BBC charity that supported emerging talent and community groups.  It was originally set up as the Fame Academy Bursary in 2003.

The charity received its income from the incidental revenue generated from the voting lines of BBC entertainment programmes including Strictly Come Dancing and The Voice.

Over 12 years the Fund had significant impact across the performing arts sector including:

  • Awarded £5.2 million in grants
  • Supported 1632 individuals including musicians, composers, directors, writers, choreographers, producers and theatre makers
  • Supported 237 community groups from choirs to youth theatre, samba bands and clog-dancing  groups
  • Funded 487 community performances
  • Purchased 834 musical instruments for children and young people
  • 103,394 people attended performances as a result of a grant from the Fund
  • Commissioned over 60 pieces of new music
  • Supported 234 musical theatre students by providing grants towards their fees
  • Awarded grants all across the UK and Northern Ireland and as far afield as both the Shetland Islands and the Channel Islands
  • Supported and nurtured emerging talent including Adele, Mark Simpson, James Wilton, Sam Sweeney and Kathryn Rudge
  • Provided workshops, masterclasses, showcase opportunities and networking events

The BBC Performing Arts Fund closed in 2016.  With the advent of new online technology the pattern of audience voting changed and the amount of funding available for the charity to distribute  decreased and it was no longer viable to continue operating.

On the Fund’s closure in 2016, and in line with its Charitable Deed of Trust, the small amount of remaining funds were transferred to the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the Clore Leadership Programme in order to continue its work in nurturing talent.