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£75 Million For Iconic Arts Venues And Cultural Organisations In England From Culture Recovery Fund

25th October 2020

Iconic arts venues and cultural organisations get £75 million boost from Government's Culture Recovery Fund with 70 per cent of awards outside London.

Culture Secretary announces grants of up to £3 million to save 35 of the country's 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, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Old Vic and the Sheffield Crucible

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

£75 million will protect some of the nation’s most significant stages, from the iconic Shakespeare’s Globe and the internationally renowned Sadler’s Wells to major theatres like the Old Vic, Sheffield Crucible, Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the Theatre Royal Plymouth. These famous organisations have been essential stepping stones for some of the UK’s 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 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.

All four nations are benefiting from the UK Government’s £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 nation’s best known organisations will receive funding including The Old Vic, one of the capital’s 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:

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. To have been a part of the IN CAMERA series during the theatre’s 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 UK’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which has huge local significance and supports the region’s tourism industry.

These grants will help support the pipeline of innovative productions and work in theatres across the country. Manchester’s 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 world’s leading independent dance companies. London’s dedicated dance stages at Sadler’s 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 UK’s 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 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."

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 UK’s 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.

Newcastle Theatre Royal is a significant local and national theatre and charity, receiving touring companies such as Northern Ballet and the National Theatre, making it key to the wider theatre and cultural ecology. Over the years many of the world’s most famous stage actors have performed at the Theatre Royal including Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen.

Lights Control Rigging Productions Ltd, Darwen - £1,076,179 will support the business’s survival to March 2021, covering overheads, building costs and maintaining their equipment.

Lights Control Rigging Productions Ltd supplies lights, control, rigging & production for national & international events, tours & concerts and has worked for internationally famous artists including Ed Sheeran’s Divide World Tour and Rita Ora’s Phoenix Tour.

Black Country Living Museum, Dudley - £2,559,805 will allow them to remain open at 50% reduced capacity and ensure it is Covid-safe.

The award-winning immersive open-air museum which tells the story of the Black Country from the 1850s through to the 1950s where visitors explore actual historical buildings including a Blacksmiths and a fish and chip shop, as well as characters dressed in full costume who tell the stories of what it was really like to live and work in this moment in history. It’s also been used as a filming location for hit series including Peaky Blinders, Rosie & Jim and the feature film on the life of Laurel and Hardy, Stan & Ollie.

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton - £1,187,530 will help keep skilled staff locally and ensure the theatre can remain active and prepare for reopening.

The 125-year-old Grade II listed Victorian theatre welcomes thousands of people either as an audience member to experience touring productions including West End shows and also has an in-house education programme and outreach activities which work with local people and creative freelance artists. The stage played host to actors including Sean Connery and Kenneth More who both performed early in their careers.

Rambert, Lambeth, London - £1,283,835 will support Rambert to retain its elite talent and to develop its Rambert Home Studio digital platform, enabling it to continue to engage with audiences and artists.

Rambert is Britain’s oldest dance company and one of the world’s leading independent dance companies and transforms everyday spaces by making dance that is awe-inspiring, adventurous, dynamic and relevant. It presents the most extensive national touring programme of any UK contemporary dance company, reaching approximately 70,000 people each year. They have hosted stars including Audrey Hepburn.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham - £1,380,023 will allow Birmingham’s only producing theatre building to deliver Covid-secure events and create jobs for artists and freelancers as well as transitioning to a more sustainable business model.

The REP is the UK’s oldest building-based theatre company. Its history across all forms of drama stretches from 1913 to today and launching careers of Laurence Olivier and Sir Lenny Henry, as well as debuting Kenneth Branagh’s Renaissance and The Snowman. They commission newcomers and new groups as well as established theatre professionals.

Norwich Theatre, Norwich - £3,000,000, will help the theatre host a temporary programme of artistic, participatory and commercial activities, whilst also sustaining the core business during this challenging period.

Norwich Theatre is one of the UK’s leading performing arts organisations and the largest arts organisation in the East of England. Made up of three venues – Theatre Royal, Playhouse and Stage Two, which are all situated in the heart of the city. Norwich Theatre welcomes around 450,000 visitors across its venues every year and its alumni include star of ‘Me Before You’ Sam Claflin, international stage star Sam Clemmett (best known for his role as Albus Potter in the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), and Jack Bannon, star of blockbuster drama ‘Pennyworth,’ which is screened in America.

Old Vic Theatre Trust, Lambeth, London - £3,000,000 will prevent The Old Vic from being mothballed, allowing it to continue to make work – including hiring freelancers – record three new commissions, developing successful online and safe in-person activities to reach new participants, as well as develop its business model so it can respond to the evolving landscape.

The Old Vic can transform into a theatre in the round, is a space for live music and comedy, and has played host to opera, dance, cinema, music hall, classical dramas, variety, big spectacles and novelty acts. The stage has hosted performers including Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Andrew Scott, Sally Field, Penelope Wilton, Paterson Joseph and Indira Varma.

Shakespeare’s Globe, Southwark, London - £2,985,707 will sustain Shakespeare’s Globe whilst it remains closed and support start-up costs for a planned reopening in Spring 2021.

Shakespeare’s Globe is a world-renowned theatre, education centre, and cultural landmark, located on the bank of the River Thames in London. Delivering theatre performances, education programmes and guided historical tours, it celebrates Shakespeare’s transformative impact on the world and has over 1 million annual visitors. The Globe is recognised as one of the UK’s major cultural and heritage assets.

English National Ballet, Tower Hamlets London - £3,000,000 will enable the English National Ballet to retain its elite talent, whilst also exploring live socially distanced and digital opportunities to engage with its audiences.

The English National Ballet brings world class ballet to the widest possible audience through performances across the UK and on eminent international stages, including The Bolshoi Theatre and Palais Garnier.

Sadler’s Wells, Islington, London - £2,975,000 will enable Sadler’s Wells to be able to partially reopen, with plans to present up to seven shows, as well as continuing its acclaimed digital programme to bring dance to audiences who cannot come to its venues.

Sadler’s Wells is a world-leading creative organisation dedicated to dance in all its forms and where Darcey Bussell began her career. With over three centuries of theatrical heritage and a year-round programme of performances and learning activities, its mission is to make and share dance that inspires us all.

Theatre Royal Plymouth, Devon - £1,896,000 will support the reopening of a high-quality programme of professionally produced and presented shows and a season of new developmental work by emerging artists and companies mainly from the South West region. This will provide income to freelance performers, artists and companies. It will also enable them to resume their wide-ranging Community Engagement programme.

Theatre Royal Plymouth has a well-established national reputation as a dedicated new writing theatre, showcasing the work of some of the most influential new writers of the last two decades including Jack Thorne, Abi Morgan, Moira Buffini, Neil Bartlett and James Graham. Since it opened in 1982 it has always had a varied line-up - from Gene Pitney to the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet through to Keith Harris and Orville.