Theatre Welcomes the news that cultural and heritage organisations to be protected with £1.57 billion support package, but will it, and the way it will be shared, be enough to protect everyone?
Future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues will be protected with emergency grants and loans
Funding will also be provided to restart construction work at cultural and heritage sites paused as a result of the pandemic
Britain’s globally renowned arts, culture and heritage industries will receive a world-leading £1.57 billion rescue package to help weather the impact of coronavirus, the government announced on Sunday night.
Thousands of organisations across a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans.
The money, which represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture, will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit hard by the pandemic. It will help them stay afloat while their doors are closed. Funding to restart paused projects will also help support employment, including freelancers working in these sectors.
Many of Britain’s cultural and heritage institutions have already received unprecedented financial assistance to see them through the pandemic including loans, business rate holidays and participation in the coronavirus job retention scheme. More than 350,000 people in the recreation and leisure sector have been furloughed since the pandemic began.
This new package will be available across the country and ensure the future of these multi billion-pound industries are secured.
Neil Constable, CEO, Shakespeare’s Globe, said: "We at Shakespeare’s Globe welcome this significant investment from the Government in our world-leading theatres and cultural institutions. As an independent charity, The Globe needs support throughout this difficult time and will now have the opportunity to plan to reopen fully by early 2021. We will of course be taking opportunities, if social distancing allows, to reopen earlier, and until then this investment allows us to offer our world-class performances and education online for audiences and students across the world, before safely bringing our actors, creatives, staff, and visitors alike together in our wonderful iconic theatres."
Julian Bird, Chief Executive, Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre: "The government’s announcement of a £1.57bn package of support for the arts, culture and heritage sector in the UK is hugely welcomed – for the theatre and performing arts sector, we have worked intensively with DCMS and HMT to seek this clear commitment to our world-leading industry and we thank them. Venues, producers and the huge workforce in the theatre sector look forward to clarity of how these funds will be allocated and invested, so that artists and organisations can get back to work as soon as possible. Our industry’s united ambition is to be able to play its vital role in the nation’s economic and social recovery and this investment will allow us to do so." Oliver Dowden Culture Secretary said: "Our arts and culture are the soul of our nation. They make our country great and are the lynchpin of our world-beating and fast growing creative industries. I understand the grave challenges the arts face and we must protect and preserve all we can for future generations. Today we are announcing a huge support package of immediate funding to tackle the funding crisis they face. I said we would not let the arts down, and this massive investment shows our level of commitment." Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer said: "Our world-renowned galleries, museums, heritage sites, music venues and independent cinemas are not only critical to keeping our economy thriving, employing more than 700,000 people, they’re the lifeblood of British culture. That’s why we’re giving them the vital cash they need to safeguard their survival, helping to protect jobs and ensuring that they can continue to provide the sights and sounds that Britain is famous for." The package announced today includes funding for national cultural institutions in England and investment in cultural and heritage sites to restart construction work paused as a result of the pandemic. This will be a big step forward to help rebuild our cultural infrastructure. This unprecedented package includes:
£1.15 billion support pot for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans. This will be made up of £270 million of repayable finance and £880 million grants.
£100 million of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust.
£120 million capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England which was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new funding will also mean an extra £188 million for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33 million), Scotland (£97 million) and Wales (£59 million).
Decisions on awards will be made working alongside expert independent figures from the sector including the Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.
However, not all organisations will be saved, and many freelance artists and practitioners working in the sector will not be helped by this fund. Not all arts businesses receive grants or funding support, so may be off the radar of the awarding bodies responsible for allocating funds released by the government.
Theatre Workout was a thriving and successful business which has never received any arts funding to develop or deliver the work if produces. All revenue is derived through workshop bookings and other commercial services to the education, travel and entertainment industries, but with the Coronavirus pandemic has seen 100% of future business disappear. Our future is still gravely in doubt and this announcement, while welcomed for the arts, culture and heritage sector, is unlikely to help protect Theatre Workout if there are any further delays to the reopening of theatres and its ability to run workshops and courses for schools.