Press release: 75 million for iconic arts venues and cultural organisations from Culture Recovery Fund

Arts Council England

October 23
23:15 2020

  • Culture Secretary announces grants of up to 3 million to save 35 of the countrys cultural icons
  • 70 per cent of funding awarded to organisations outside London
  • Grants announced today include the largest awards from the Culture Recovery Fund to date
  • Recipients include iconic venues like the Design Museum, Shakespeares Globe, the Old Vic and the Sheffield Crucible

35 of the countrys leading cultural organisations and venues will be the first to receive grants between 1 and 3 million from the Governments 1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced.

75 million will protect some of the nations most significant stages, from the iconic Shakespeares Globe and the internationally renowned Sadlers Wells to major theatres like the Old Vic, Sheffield Crucible, Manchesters Royal Exchange Theatre, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the Theatre Royal Plymouth. These famous organisations have been essential stepping stones for some of the UKs brightest stars including Adrian Lester, Abi Morgan, Mark Rylance and David Tennant.

Grants are being awarded to places that define culture in all corners of the country, providing jobs, supporting the wider community and engaging the public through innovative means during the pandemic.

More than 500 million has now been allocated from the Culture Recovery Fund to nearly 2,500 cultural organisations and venues of all sizes, including cinemas, heritage sites, museums, circuses, festivals and comedy clubs across the country, to help them plan for reopening and restarting performances and programmes. The certainty and security provided by these grants will also help to support organisations as they plan for the future and create opportunities for freelancers.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

As part of our unprecedented 1.57 billion rescue fund, today were saving British cultural icons with large grants of up to 3 million - from Shakespeares 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.

All four nations are benefiting from the UK Governments 1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, with 188 million barnetted to the Devolved Administrations to run their own process - 97 million for Scotland, 59 million for Wales and 33 million for Northern Ireland. This funding will enable them to increase the support already available to the arts and cultural sectors in each nation.

Some of the nations best known organisations will receive funding including The Old Vic, one of the capitals leading independent not-for profit theatres, which will be able to continue making new work and provide opportunities for freelancers thanks to their 3 million grant.

Andrew Scott, Actor and The Old Vic Ambassador, said:

Todays 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. To have been a part of the IN CAMERA series during the theatres closure, and to have seen first-hand how hard everyone is working to support others and keep the organisation alive, has been a real privilege and I wish everybody luck as they work to rebuild a theatre that we all love so much.

More than 52 million, 70% of the total awarded in this round, will be going to organisations outside of London.

The award-winning Black Country Living Museum, which has provided a backdrop to popular series like Peaky Blinders and feature films like Stan & Ollie, will be able to reopen thanks to a grant of 2,559,805 so they can continue to employ uniquely skilled staff in the West Midlands. Funding will also go to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, one of the UKs UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which has huge local significance and supports the regions tourism industry.

These grants will help support the pipeline of innovative productions and work in theatres across the country. Manchesters Royal Exchange, where actors like Andrew Garfield performed at the start of their careers, will be able to reopen when it is safe to do so thanks to a grant of 2,854,444. The Sheffield Theatre Trust, which includes the renowned Crucible Theatre, will receive 2,246,000 to reopen for a new season including a pop-up panto for Christmas if it is safe to do so. 1,380,023 will allow the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, a major cultural venue in the city, to deliver Covid-secure events and create jobs for artists and freelancers as well as transitioning to a more sustainable business model.

Adrian Lester, Actor, Director, Writer and Trustee of the Board of The Birmingham Repertory Theatre, said:

The REP 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. The impact The REP has goes far beyond the economic contribution it makes to my home city - it is an essential and vital pathway for aspiring talent and for creating truly world class productions - and for welcoming back that talent when it has flowered. This wonderful news ensures that this historic, pioneering theatre - now under the exciting new leadership of Artistic Director Sean Foley and Executive Director Rachael Thomas - will be there to inspire and entertain again when it is possible to return to full production.

World renowned performance groups showcasing the best of British talent will also be supported. The English National Ballet will receive 3 million to restart performances, retain its elite talent and explore live and digital opportunities to bring world class ballet to the widest possible audience. Rambert has been awarded 1,283,835 to enable dancers to rehearse safely and develop a new digital platform so that audiences and artists can still engage with one of the worlds leading independent dance companies. Londons dedicated dance stages at Sadlers Wells will also be able to partially reopen for socially distanced performances thanks to a grant of 2,975,000 which will also support its acclaimed digital programme.

This funding will also support the events industry that makes live performances possible, for example Lights Control Rigging which has worked with some of the UKs biggest artists including Ed Sheeran and Rita Ora will be receiving 1,076,179.

The recipients were informed of the outcome of their application by Arts Council England, who are delivering 500 million in grants as part of the Culture Recovery Fund on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. A second round of grants over 1 million and the recipients of the 270 million loans package will be announced in the coming weeks.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, 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 countrys 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.

Organisations that will be receiving funding include:

Royal Exchange, Manchester - 2,854,444 will support the theatre with its plans for reopening.

  • The Royal Exchange is the UKs largest producing theatre-in-the-round and is both a nationally and internationally culturally significant theatre. The company has a reputation for spotting young actors before they became famous and is the stage where household names, including David Tennant and Andrew Garfield, performed at the start of their career.

Design Museum, London- 2,968,634 will support the Museum during challenging trading conditions and enable it to host a number of diverse exhibitions.

  • The Design Museum was founded by the late Sir Terence Conran and its collection is an important record of the key designs that have shaped the modern world from the humble Bic Biro to Singer Sewing Machines to the iconic Tulip chair and Vespa.

Sheffield Theatre Trust, Sheffield - 2,246,000 will be used to help the theatre partially reopen creating a pop up season and digital content.

  • Sheffield Theatre Trust is a significant cultural organisation for the city and has won Regional Theatre of the Year several times and has produced smash hit productions such as the Life of Pi.

Newcastle Theatre Royal, Newcastle - 3,000,000 will help the theatre continue to deliver its actor training programme and to adapt to the challenges covid-19 has created.

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