Nimax Theatres, the Criterion Theatre, Young Vic and Chichester Festival Theatre are among the 2,700 organisations being offered nearly £400 million in grants and loans as part of the Culture Recovery Fund’s second tranche of funding.
Other venues and theatre companies receiving awards include Hackney Empire, Park Theatre, the Hope Theatre, the Turbine Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, Bristol Old Vic, Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre, Curve Leicester, the Wolverhampton Grand, the Watermill Theatre in Bagnor, together with Wise Children, Seabright Productions and Adam Spiegel Productions.
This brings the Government’s total investment across grants, capital and repayable finance from the Culture Recovery Fund so far to more than £1.2 billion across over 5,000 individual cultural and heritage organisations and sites.
With more than 70% of funding going outside of London, the hope is it will help organisations across the country as they welcome back visitors and return to normal operating models in the months ahead.
Over £170 million in repayable finance has been offered to organisations including the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company. A further £81 million in new loans are being announced for 23 nationally and internationally significant organisations receiving support in excess of £1 million, including The Lowry and Sage Gateshead.
The Salford-based Lowry Centre Trust will receive £7.3 million, which will help the organisation to continue its community outreach programming and ensure that the LS Lowry collection is appropriately cared for.
The North Music Trust, which operates the flagship music performance and artistic development Sage Gateshead, will receive £3 million to support operational costs ahead of reopening.
Grants worth almost £60 million have been awarded to help theatres plan for reopening across the country. The Criterion is receiving £164,501, taking its total support from the Culture Recovery Fund to £493,504.
Nimax Theatres, which operates six sites in the West End including the Palace Theatre, the Lyric and the Apollo Theatre, will receive £898,784 from the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund. The Wolverhampton Grand has been awarded £568,357 to restart socially distanced events when it is safe to do so.
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record-breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.
“Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”
Stephen Fry, chair of the Criterion Theatre Trust, commented: “Offering live theatre to a socially distanced audience presents a financial challenge, but the support extended through the Culture Recovery Fund is a boost that allows us to re-open in a Covid-safe way.
“The Trust will be able to continue its work and, when that glorious and happy time comes, to welcome audiences back to our beautiful theatre, to enjoy once again the irreplaceable and unforgettable experience of live theatre.”
Supporter of Chichester Festival Theatre, Hugh Bonneville, added:
“The grant will enable it to reopen its doors with confidence, renew the relationship with its audience and take its place once again at the heart of its vibrant community.”
Award-winning Brighton venue Komedia, which usually programmed over 700 events a year to provide a platform for performers launching their careers, will receive £123,500 to resume socially distanced music, comedy and theatre performances. Iconic venues like the Camden Roundhouse are also being supported with awards of £1,500,000.
Wise Children, the South West Theatre Company created and led by award-winning director Emma Rice, will receive £173,598 to return to rehearsals and restart their training programmes after pivoting to streaming performances online and podcasting during the pandemic.
Nearly all of the original £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund has now been allocated, with over £1.2 billion in grants and repayable finance offered to more than 5,000 individual organisations and sites, and further grants to be finalised over the coming weeks.
Some £188 million has been given to the devolved administrations through the Barnett formula, with Northern Ireland receiving £33 million, Scotland £97 million and Wales £59 million.
Additionally £100 million has been given to national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust.
At last month’s Budget, the Chancellor announced a £300 million boost for the Culture Recovery Fund, as part of a wider £408 million package for arts and culture. Further details on the third round of the Culture Recovery Fund will be available in due course.
While the latest Government funding has been welcomed by all the above beneficiaries and more, the lack of any kind of financial support for thousands of freelancers continues to be much debated.
Freelancers Make Theatre Work, the independent, collective voice to advocate for the UK freelance theatre workforce, commented on Twitter: “Seeing lots of lovely Tweets about the Culture Recovery Fund this morning. Lovely. Now, where’s the Freelancer Recovery Fund.”
Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of the Young Vic:
It allows us to welcome people back into the building, and importantly, it allows us to invest in what tomorrow looks like. With it, we can invest in our current and future workforce, including in our freelance theatre community, and also innovate, and for that we are profoundly grateful.
Adrian Jackson, chief executive and artistic director, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre:
“We are now able to begin the process of reopening the theatre and we look forward to welcoming our audience back in the coming months when the Grand Theatre’s heart will once again beat loudly in Wolverhampton and beyond.”
Emma Rice, artistic director, Wise Children:
“The Culture Recovery Fund gives us a shot of security, energy and hope which will help us get back to doing what we do best – making beautiful, life-affirming and joyful shows. It’s not going to be easy but this strategic and welcome support will help us emerge from the pandemic stronger, healthier and more creatively resilient.”
Paul Taylor-Mills, artistic director, The Turbine Theatre:
“I’m always proud to lead the incredible team at our Battersea Power Station home, and in Devon, but today we all stand an inch taller. It goes without saying that artists are a resilient group but the notion that this work is valued by the DCMS goes a long way.”
Tom Morris, artistic director, Bristol Old Vic:
“This investment allows us to plan our reopening and commission some of the artists whose work will reopen our theatre. The government has grasped the economic arguments about culture, what it offers to the international reputation of our country and how much it can contribute to our economic recovery and we are very grateful for that understanding.”
Joanna Reid, executive director, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry:
“Receiving this grant means that we can continue our work on producing our 2021 programme and to plan in confidence for reopening the building and inviting everyone back in.”
Chris Stafford, chief executive, Nikolai Foster, artistic director, Curve Leicester:
“Through this grant we will be able to employ over 100 freelancers, engage 1000s of learners, participants and audiences, and bring communities back into our city centre. Leicester has been severely affected by Covid-19 and Curve will play a key role in helping our city recover from the devastation of the pandemic.”
Jez Bond, artistic director, Park Theatre:
“This grant gives us the confidence to continue planning for a relaunch – so that we can once more be there, with some new developments and improvements, for our community, our artists and of course our staff.”
Yamin Choudury, artistic director and Jo Hemmant, executive director, Hackney Empire:
“The Culture Recovery Funding will allow us to continue our work with our communities and in particular, working with young people who have been so impacted by this pandemic.”
Brian Hook and Louis Hartshorn, Hartshorn-Hook Enterprises:
“The funds support us in kickstarting the sector with Doctor Who: Time Fracture and Amelie employing more than 250 freelancers, crew, cast and creatives.”
Kennedy Bloomer, artistic director, The Hope Theatre
“This support has allowed us to expand into digital performance and our reopening planning is now more concrete. We have high but cautious hopes to re-open and stay open on the 29 June.”
Paul Hart, artistic director, The Watermill:
“We are confident that thanks to this funding and with the continued support of our loyal audiences we will bounce back to produce bold and imaginative theatre, and we look forward to welcoming audiences to our unique theatre once again.”
Seabright Productions producer James Seabright:
“We are delighted to receive this much-needed grant from the Culture Recovery Fund to support our work as independent theatre producers as we reopen shows and welcome audiences back to live entertainment. Integral to our plans for the funding is to prioritise the engagement of freelancers, as that essential part of the theatre community has too often been left behind in other pandemic support initiatives.”