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Absolutely Fabulous! Theatre scoops £94,000 grant

A professional theatre company in Coventry which operates out of a former fish and chip shop, is celebrating a major award from Arts Council England that will help to secure its future for the next two years.

Theatre Absolute, based at the former Fishy Moore’s shop in Coventry’s City Arcade, has been awarded £94,000 by the Arts Council. With partnership support from Coventry City Council, Warwick Arts Centre, Talking Birds and the Belgrade, the project total stands at £129,000.

The funding will enable Theatre Absolute to commission nine pieces of work over the next two years, with a special emphasis on female writers.

The company expects to create short-term creative jobs for 29 artists and four paid internships at its Shop Front Theatre, the only professional space of its kind in the UK.

Artistic Director and Writer Chris O’Connell said, “This award is a boost not only for Theatre Absolute and the work at the Shop Front Theatre, but also for the cultural landscape of the city. It’s great that we can create a series of new plays, engage so many artists and creatives over the next two years. It’s a hugely exciting time for us.”

Producer Julia Negus commented, “I’m delighted for the city that we can make a positive creative contribution with our theatre work, especially as we head towards the submission of the City of Culture bid. We will be posting details about commissions and internships on our social media and the Shop Front windows, so do look out for opportunities and events soon.”

Theatre Absolute was founded by O’Connell and Negus in 1992 and toured its work for many years, including to the United States. It became widely known for its double Edinburgh Fringe First-winning trilogy, Car, Raw and Kids. The Shop Front Theatre opened as a permanent base for its activities in 2009. For more information go to

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