THE Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival has been confirmed as part of the Arts Council England’s prestigious national portfolio of arts organisations for three years from 2015.

The news comes just a few weeks after this year’s festival, which saw more than 50,000 people enjoy a varied programme of music, theatre, dance, circus, literature, visual arts, film, programming for families, free outdoors arts, and even walks in the Wiltshire countryside.

The 670 national portfolio organisations announced last week represent some of the best arts practice in the world, and the process to secure funding is highly competitive, with some organisations leaving the portfolio and others joining it for the first time.

The festival’s success is matched by the city’s Playhouse and Arts Centre, both of which also secured funding.

Together, all three organisations play a key role in producing and presenting arts from the UK and abroad in the city.

Festival director Toby Smith said: “We are delighted to have been acknowledged by Arts Council England as part of its national portfolio, this welcome news coming hot on the heels of the success of this year’s festival.

“It’s great news for Salisbury, offering us a real vote of confidence in what we are doing and allowing our creativity to flourish over the next years in bringing all sorts of wonderful artistic experiences to our festival here in Salisbury.”

In its evaluation, Arts Council England particularly recognised the festival’s high quality programme, with international programming, newlycommissioned work and projects designed to animate the landscape and history of the city and the surrounding region at its core.

It was felt the diversity in the festival’s artistic offering is mirrored in its commitment to diversifying its audiences, through a range of initiatives designed to widen the reach of the programme, as well as a number of projects that offer young people opportunities to both participate in and experience events across every art form.