Government to deliver £75m bailout for major cultural organisations

23 October 2020, 23:58

The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester in one of dozens of organisation getting funding
The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester in one of dozens of organisation getting funding. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The Government is set to deliver a £75 million bailout package to 35 of the UK's top cultural organisations and venues, from the Old Vic to Shakespeare's Globe.

The emergency funding, as part of the £1.57 billion culture recovery fund, will see The Design Museum, Sadler's Wells, the Sheffield Crucible, Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre and the Birmingham Repertory receive much-needed cash.

The grants are the largest to have come from the fund to date and will go to bodies which require between £1 million and £3 million to support them through Covid-19 restrictions.

Money was allocated based on how many jobs each organisations created, how much it supported the wider community and engaged with the public through innovative means during the pandemic.

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More than £52 million - 70% of the total awarded in this round - will go to organisations outside London.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "As part of our unprecedented £1.57 billion rescue fund, today we're saving British cultural icons with large grants of up to £3 million - from Shakespeare's Globe to the Sheffield Crucible.

"These places and organisations are irreplaceable parts of our heritage and what make us the cultural superpower we are.

"This vital funding will secure their future and protect jobs right away."

The 1,000-seat Old Vic theatre in London, which was established in 1818, received a £3 million grant - the highest on offer.

It will allow the space to record three new commissions, hire freelancers and develop online and in-person activities to reach new participants.

Fleabag star Andrew Scott, who is an ambassador for the venue, said: "Today's announcement is a hugely exciting and positive step forward in helping The Old Vic survive and thrive.

"Over its 200-year lifetime, hundreds of thousands of performers, creatives, technical crews, back-of-house teams and everyone else in-between have worked together to make The Old Vic the cultural icon it is today."

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The English National Ballet will also receive £3 million to restart performances, retain its talent and explore live and digital opportunities.

Leading contemporary dance company Rambert will get £1,283,835, while the Sadler's Wells venue will receive £2,975,000.

The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, where scenes for Peaky Blinders and Stan & Ollie have been filmed, will be able to reopen with a grant of £2,559,805.

The Sheffield Theatre Trust, which includes the Crucible Theatre, will receive £2,246,000 to reopen for a season with a pop-up pantomime for Christmas.

A grant of £1,380,023 will allow the Birmingham Repertory Theatre to deliver coronavirus-secure events.

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Actor Adrian Lester, trustee of the board at the venue, said: "The REP (Birmingham Repertory Theatre) was one of the main reasons I applied to drama school. It was the first theatre I visited as a child and the first theatre I ever performed in. Without it, my life may have taken a completely different course."

Sir Nicholas Serota, chairman of Arts Council England - which is delivering the funding , said: "The Culture Recovery Fund has already helped hundreds of organisations, of all types and sizes, in villages, towns and cities across the country.

"It has provided a lifeline that will allow these organisations to continue to play an integral role in their communities and produce new artistic work that will entertain and inspire us all.

"This latest funding, which are the largest grants to date, will support some of the country's most loved and admired cultural spaces - from great regional theatres and museums to historic venues in the capital - which are critical to the development of a new generation of talent and in providing work for freelance creatives."