Sky Arts is to become a free channel in the UK accessible via Freeview from September with new shows launching in their schedule.
The premium channel Sky Arts is to become free to air in the UK from September. Launching on Freeview with a mission to bring “more arts to the people” the channel hopes to replace BBC Four which has seen diminished arts coverage.
Sky Arts director Philip Edgar-Jones said: “There’s never been a stronger need or demand for the arts, nor a more important time to champion and celebrate creativity.
“That’s why we’re throwing open the doors to make Sky Arts a free channel. During lockdown we’ve seen audiences to the channel increase by 50% and our weekly live paint-along show, Portrait Artist Of The Week, reached 4.6 million people with over 20,000 portraits painted.”
“As a free to air channel I hope that Sky Arts can help arts organisations and cultural institutions of all shapes and sizes across the UK, providing them with a platform to create and showcase their work to a broad audience.”
Part of this commitment will see Sky Arts launch bursaries worth £30,000 each creating a mentoring initiative where leading figures from the arts world will be paired with diverse and emerging new artists.
New programming will include a documentary where Danny Dyer explores the life and work of Harold Pinter, No Masks written by Nadia Fall and Rebecca Lenkiewicz in partnership with Theatre Royal Stratford East based on testimonies of London key workers during the pandemic.
Sky Arts are also to film the English National Opera’s Drive and Live performance of La Boheme which will be presented at Alexandra Palace in September.