£75 million for iconic arts venues and cultural organisations from Culture Recovery Fund

  • 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.
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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.

Notes to Editors

For media queries please call the DCMS press office on 020 7211 2210

A full list of the recipients can be found on the Arts Council England website.

The Culture Recovery Fund builds on more than £200 billion of support through the Job Retention Scheme; more than £13.5 billion through the Self Employed Income Support Scheme; and a hundred billion pounds of tax cuts, tax deferral, direct grants and government backed loans.

This is in addition to £104 million of emergency funding already distributed by Arts Council England to organisations and individuals, and £96 million currently available to support the arts and freelancers, through programmes like National Lottery Project Grants and Developing Your Creative Practice.

Additional quotes

Neil Mendoza, Government Commissioner for Culture Recovery and Renewal, said:

Culture provides a life-enhancing force, contributing to our national good in so many ways, from well-being to economic growth. Today’s funding announcement delivers a lifeline to a nationally diverse range of performing arts and cultural institutions at a particularly difficult time when many communities are facing local lockdowns. We are grateful to Arts Council England for the rapid and exhaustive work it has undertaken to distribute this funding where it is most needed. We are here for culture.

Matthew Warcus, Artistic Director, and Kate Varah, Executive Director, The Old Vic, said:

We are incredibly grateful to the Chancellor, the Culture Secretary, HM Treasury, the DCMS and Arts Council England for the grant our independent theatre will receive through the Culture Recovery Fund. As a registered charity in receipt of no regular public subsidy, this injection of recovery funding is crucial to safeguard our immediate future. It will allow us not just to stay solvent but to continue our online artistic programme and education projects for beneficiaries. This will, in turn, allow us to go on employing staff and, through the projects we deliver, pass on funds to the freelance creative community who continue to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic. As we look towards the future, we do so with hope and belief that the cultural sector will recover and be able to play its part in reviving the spirits of the nation. We want to thank all those, alongside government – audiences, supporters and participants – who have journeyed with us so far. For all of us, this time of crisis is not over, but today’s news is a huge step forward in our efforts to rebuild.

Natascha McElhone, actor, said of the award for The Old Vic:

The Old Vic is an ideal recipient – having transformed itself many times over the last 200 years – it has to be the most versatile, flexible space with Matthew’s creative mind at its helm always shredding any rule book. If 100 years ago Lilian Baylis ( social reformer, suffragette, theatre manager) could make Shakespeare desirable & affordable for everyone ; that’s a brilliant legacy to uphold in this theatre . There’s no limit to what a bit of social distancing might end up inventing – onwards! Or as The Old Vic slogan says: ‘Dare,always dare’.

Neil Constable, CEO, and Michelle Terry, Artistic Director, Shakespeare’s Globe, said:

We at Shakespeare’s Globe are hugely grateful and relieved to receive a lifeline from the Culture Recovery Fund. We are pleased to have worked closely with DCMS, and our industry colleagues, to ensure that the urgent financial help could be accessed by publicly unfunded organisations like ours. When we return, our audiences will yet again experience Shakespeare’s poetry in our wooden ‘O’, an emblem of survival spanning 400 years; a plague, and now a pandemic – a reminder that we will come through this time and be together once again. The Government is backing the arts to ensure that when we come out of these dark months, the country’s internationally renowned cultural strength can rebuild itself and boost national morale significantly contributing, once again, to the UK’s economy. This fund was created to support organisations that were financially stable before Covid-19, and due to the grant the Globe is now able to produce and plan more confidently for our future, returning to employing a multitude of talented freelancers and artists, the true makers of theatre, who bring Shakespeare’s stories to life.

Alistair Spalding, Artistic Director and CEO and Britannia Morton, Executive Director, Sadler’s Wells, said:

We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to the UK government, Treasury, DCMS and Arts Council England for this vital lifeline to ensure Sadler’s Wells can stay afloat into 2021. The Culture Recovery Fund provides us with the support we need to continue to survive the pandemic and to deliver on our mission and vision as a world-leading home for dance. With this support we will continue to make and share world-class dance for audiences from across the UK and around the world. We will create opportunities for artists, companies, freelance professionals, and colleagues whose talent and skill are the backbone of this organisation. We will continue to innovate and invent, work toward a more diverse and representative sector, and through dance reaffirm our common humanity in a time when empathy is needed more than ever. With this funding, we are committed to doing all we can to play our role in rebuilding our sector and cultural life in the UK as we all face unprecedented challenges and navigate continued uncertainty along our path to recovery.

Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director, English National Ballet, said:

I am thrilled and so grateful that English National Ballet has been granted support through the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, and we offer our sincere thanks to HM Treasury, the Culture Secretary, DCMS, and Arts Council England.

This investment will support us as we continue to adapt, rebuild and innovate in the face of the ongoing challenges and uncertainties that the coronavirus crisis has brought to bear on our company, our work, and our ability to serve our audiences.

With this grant we can ensure ENB’s survival for the immediate future, helping us to retain talent and protect as many jobs as possible, and allowing us to create, to collaborate and to support and enrich the lives of our local, national and global communities through our artform.

Tim Marlow, Director and CEO, Design Museum said:

This emergency funding is a vital bridge for the Design Museum’s recovery, providing much needed support at a very precarious time. Being awarded a grant by Arts Council England from the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund is recognition of the importance of design to all our futures and is a huge boost for which we are immensely grateful. I would also like to thank all of our supporters, visitors, sector colleagues and staff, without whose sacrifice and ingenuity we wouldn’t have made it this far. The museum re-opening to restricted numbers of visitors but selling out every day since July shows what we can do, even in the most challenging circumstances. This grant means we can keep on trying to make the impact of design visible to all.

Philip Bernays, Chief Executive, Newcastle Theatre Royal, said:

We are thrilled and relieved; this is great news as we were at the point where, without intervention, we would have been at real risk of permanent closure. Theatres have a hugely important civic role in our society, bringing communities together and helping regional economies thrive, and we want to play our part in the years ahead.

This grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund is for the period to April 2021 and while there remains uncertainty beyond, it allows us to invest in creating an organisation that is sustainable in what will be a new and different “normal”. We can now turn the lights back on and look forward to a brighter future.

Adrian Vinken, CEO Theatre Royal Plymouth, said:

This is tremendous news for TRP and a great relief for Plymouth and the cultural landscape of the far south-west. It demonstrates that the government clearly recognises the great economic, social and creative value of an organisation like Theatre Royal Plymouth to this city and region. We are grateful to the DCMS and the Arts Council for this demonstration of support and confidence and look forward to justifying that confidence with a growing programme of activity across and beyond our stages as conditions allow. It will see real benefits for our audiences, local artists, creative freelancers and the wider community.

Brian Conley, comedian, TV presenter, singer and actor, welcomed the award for Theatre Royal Plymouth:

Plymouth’s Theatre Royal is one of those really special regional theatres that draws people from all over the place. It’s why I’ve started a number of my big musicals there and why I just love going back there for panto. It was terrifying to think it might have to close for good so more power to the government for giving them the backing they need.

Lesley Joseph, Actress and Broadcaster, said of the award to Theatre Royal Plymouth:

Theatre Royal Plymouth is the entertainment heart of that whole region. Whenever I play there people journey for hours to see my shows. If it were to close that whole area would be a cultural desert. I am so relieved that the government and Arts Council have provided this lifeline. It’s so very important because we’ll all need nights out at the theatre to help lift us out of this Covid gloom.

Ben Caldwell, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester said:

Today further grants have been awarded as part of the Culture Recovery Fund. The Royal Exchange Theatre is incredibly grateful to HM Government, the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport, Arts Council England and all those who have made this funding possible. The Royal Exchange has been awarded £2.85m – a vital influx of funding necessary for our theatre’s recovery. The impact of this pandemic on our Company and our industry has been devastating, this grant is a critical investment which will allow us to reignite and reopen our unique theatre. With this grant in place we can rebuild a financially resilient and artistically innovative theatre company which is fundamentally relevant to the people it serves.

Sam Mullins OBE, Director, London Transport Museum, said:

We are incredibly grateful and relieved to have received support from the Cultural Recovery Fund. London Transport Museum has lost £3 million and counting this year, but this new funding gives us hope. It is a huge shot in the arm for my trustees and colleagues, and gives us confidence for the future. It will mean we can keep our doors open into the new year, continuing our programmes for families, children, young people, culture and transport fans. A huge thank you to Arts Council England, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and HM Treasury, and to the many supporters and visitors who have stood by the Museum during this difficult time.

We are enormously relieved and grateful to be receiving this vital support from the Culture Recovery Fund. As an independent charity with no regular public funding, Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on our finances. This grant gets us back on our feet to serve our communities through our vibrant and inclusive programme, to protect our team, and to care for the world’s first public art gallery. In difficult times we all need – more than ever – the inspiration and hope that art brings. We can’t wait to welcome audiences back to Dulwich Picture Gallery when we reopen on 21 November as our creative work continues.

Dan Bates, CEO, and Rob Hastie, Artistic Director, Sheffield Theatres, said:

We are over the moon to be given this funding – it’s a vital lifeline that will enable us to continue to make bold and brilliant theatre in Sheffield on our stages, in our communities and online, to work with artists and theatre professionals, many of whom have been without work for most of this year. This funding will also support us to further adapt our buildings and three performance spaces as we look towards a full reopening next year. We are hugely grateful to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund for this funding and can now look to the future with the security of knowing that this investment will sustain us until March 2021.

Lolita Chakrabarti, adapter of Life of Pi, said of the award for Sheffield Theatres Trust:

Sheffield Theatres are at the heart of the city, offering outstanding and wide reaching work made by a diverse community of freelance practitioners. They are an essential local resource and, in a normal year, sell almost 400,000 tickets a year to over 750 performances. Their theatres offer so many excellent opportunities to bring people together for entertainment and engagement. Life of Pi was lucky enough to premiere at the Crucible last year. I can’t wait until they open their doors again and look forward to going back soon to experience their next live performances.


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