A £250 million ‘bailout’ fund will save “1,385 theatres, galleries, performance groups, arts organisations, museums and local venues facing the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and ensure they have a sustainable future”, claims the UK government.
The Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Old Vic theatre in Bristol, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and the Halle Orchestra are among those that have already been told that they will be receiving some of that money in grants of up to £1m.
The Wigmore Hall is the only organisation to have so far to have received the maximum of £1m. The Young Vic in London has been given £960,000.
The total £1.57 billion fund for the arts was announced in July but has not yet been distributed. A separate tranche will fund organisations requesting up to £3m and another for those asking for more than £3 million.
Sir Nicholas Serota, chairman of Arts Council England, said,
Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages.
This is a difficult time for us all, but this first round of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund will help sustain hundreds of cultural spaces and organisations that are loved and admired by local communities and international audiences.
The Royal Opera House and National Theatre are applying for loans of more than £3m, and The Royal Opera House is also selling a David Hockney painting to help cover its accumulating debts. The Royal Albert Hall is rumoured to be asking for a £20m loan.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said,
This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.
These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country – from the Beamish museum in County Durham to the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Bristol Old Vic.
This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.
Photo: ROH Auditorium, © ROH, Dominic Klimowski, 2011