DCMS and Arts Council England have announced that venues in the Black Country and Birmingham will receive grants between £1 and £3 million from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.
Amongst those who have been awarded funding are the Black Country Living Museum, who have been given £2.5 million. The money will allow them to remain open at 50% capacity and to adapt in order to ensure the museum is Covid-safe and respond to demand. The money also allows them to look after their designated collection, keep on uniquely skilled staff and support their community.
Three of our local theatres have also received grants; Wolverhampton Grand Theatre has been given £1.1 million, Birmingham Rep received £1.3 million and Birmingham Hippodrome pocketed £3 million. In all cases, the award will help them keep skilled staff locally and ensure the theatres can remain active to prepare for reopening. CEO and Artistic Director of Wolverhampton Grand, Adrian Jackson, said:
“It is with huge delight but also relief to share this outcome with you today. The Grand is the only large-scale theatre in Wolverhampton and The Black Country and is a vital lifeline to those communities.
“We will now carefully execute the business and creative plans proposed to ensure we are able to re-open at full capacity, next year. We are still unclear when this will be, however we are looking at other opportunities to open in the short term with social distancing in place.
“The Grand’s Outreach work will continue to be a high priority, along with making the venue Covid safe for audiences to return.
“I would like to thank the DCMS and Arts Council England for recognising the fantastic work we do at the Grand Theatre which with this support can now continue.”
Today’s announcement builds on £334 million of funding which has been awarded to nearly 2,000 cultural organisations and venues of all sizes, including museums, circuses, festivals and comedy clubs across the country, to help them plan for reopening and restart performances and programmes. The certainty and security provided by these grants will help these organisations keep going and create more opportunities for freelancers. Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden said:
“We can’t afford to lose the places that keep the arts alive which is why we are supporting talented creatives up and down the country. These organisations are irreplaceable parts of our country’s arts and culture offer which is why we are delivering record financial support to the sector.
“More money is on the way for cultural organisations of every shape and size so that as many places as possible can be supported through the pandemic.”
Adrian Lester, Trustee of the Board of The REP, added:
“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.”