Monday 12 October 2020 10:49 am

More than 1,300 arts organisations to share £257m survival fund

The London Symphony Orchestra and the Young Vic are among more than 1,300 arts organisations across England that will share a £257m coronavirus survival fund.

The funding is the latest tranche of the government’s £1.6bn Cultural Recovery Fund, which is designed to support theatres, museums and music venues that have been forced to close during the pandemic.

Read more: Cineworld to close all UK theatres over Covid-19 film release delays

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said the £257m support package, which is the largest tranche to date, would help save “special places” that form the “soul of our nation”.

The recipients are organisations that applied for grants of less than £1m. Further support of up to £3m will be granted to larger institutions at a later date, the government said.

The cash injection – granted to 1,385 venues and bodies – is intended to help allow performances to restart as well as to protect jobs and create opportunities for freelancers.

Among the recipients of the latest funding is the Finborough Theatre, a 50-seat venue above a pub in Earl’s Court, which will receive £59,574.

The tiny theatre is famous for launching the careers of international stars such as Rachel Weisz, as well as writer James Graham, whose TV work includes Brexit: Uncivil War and Quiz.

Liverpool’s Cavern Club, which helped to launch The Beatles, the Old Vic in Bristol and London’s Wigmore Hall are also set to receive funding.

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages,” said Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, which distributes the funding.

“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.”

Read more: Royal Albert Hall to reopen for Christmas concert season

The announcement follows increasing calls for support from the UK’s creative industries amid fears the coronavirus pandemic will cause scores of closures and put thousands of people out of work.

Last week hundreds of freelance musicians played outside parliament to highlight the plight of the sector and the threat to self-employed artists.

The cultural funding comes after the government announced £103m in emergency funding for 445 heritage organisations across the country.

Cultural call-up

Other venues earmarked for funding in the latest tranche include:

  • Halle Concerts Society, Manchester

The 142-year-old institution will receive £74,000 to support fortnightly concerts live-streamed from the Bridgewater Hall.

  • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

The orchestra will be granted £748,000 to provide a short, socially-distanced programme, which will be recorded to stream at a later date.

  • National Maritime Museum Cornwall

The Falmouth museum, which is home to gold medal-winning sailor Ben Ainslie’s boat from the 2012 London Olympics, will received £485,000.

  • Royal London Academy of Dance

The renowned dance education organisation will received £600,366 to stabilise and recommend its activities.

  • Hackney Empire, London

The iconic theatre will be granted £585,064 to support a new model of responsive programming and address increased costs.

  • Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

The Lake District theatre, which is one of the biggest employers in the area, will received £878,492.

  • Theatre Peckham, London

The south London theatre company, where Star Wars actor John Boyega trained, will received £150,000 to help deliver Covid-secure classes.

Read more: The creative sector is vital to London – we must save it before it is too late

Fatima fiasco

The announcement came as the government faced a backlash over an advert suggesting that people working in the struggling arts sector should retrain for other jobs.

The campaign showed a ballet dancer accompanied by the text: “Fatima’s next job could be in cyber. She just doesn’t know it yet.”

The advert sparked anger on social media, with critics stating it highlighted the government’s lack of willing to support the UK’s creative industries.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said the advert was a “partner campaign” and acknowledged that it was “crass”.

“I want to save jobs in the arts which is why we are investing £1.57bn,” he wrote in a tweet.

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