Black Country performance venues receive vital grants from Culture Recovery Fund

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre and live music venue, Red By Night are amongst 35 local organisations who have received vital funding through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

The cash means a £2.6 million boost which has been awarded through Arts Council England, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

The aim is to support theatres, galleries, museums, performance groups, arts organisations and local venues facing the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and ensuring they have a sustainable future. Other organisations receiving funding in the Black Country as part of today’s announcement include The Asylum Art Gallery, Halas Homes and The People’s Orchestra. Adrian Jackson, Chief Executive and Artistic Director at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, said:

"The wonderful news we have received has generated an incredible air of excitement within Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Our Theatre is an immense cultural pillar for Wolverhampton and the Black Country and has stood proudly on this site since opening its doors on 10 December 1894.

"Many great artistes have learnt their craft here throughout the decades, and thanks to the grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund, the future of the theatre is now firmly safeguarded and secured. The Grand is an anchor for creativity which provides cultural enrichment for our community and a platform for many established and growing performers, technicians and theatre professionals.

"We are now able to begin the process of reopening the theatre and we look forward to welcoming our audience back in the coming months when the Grand Theatre’s heart will once again beat loudly in Wolverhampton and beyond.”

Red By Night, a popular live music venue at Brierley Hill’s Waterfront and Stage Audio Services, an events sound system provider based in Wordsley have been awarded nearly £400,000 between them. Firms in the culture, events and entertainment sectors were invited to bid for funding to help them to rebuild once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted this summer. Vicki Wilkes, owner of Red By Night, said: 

“We could not be more grateful for the support we have received from Mike, from Dudley Council and from the Government. Even though there is no doubt that our business is viable in normal times, without this support and other measures such as the furlough scheme, Red By Night would not be able to open again this summer.”

Vicki and her partner Darren said the funds will allow them to stabilise their business’s finances and invest in outdoor capacity ready for eased restrictions due on 12th April. Speaking about the news, Dudley South MP, Mike Wood added:

“The money will make a massive difference for a lot of theatres, music venues and events companies, but I am particularly pleased for Red By Night and Stage Audio Services.

“Both businesses are works of passion by their owners and their teams, and their success is important not only to all of the people who work for them directly, but each of them is also key to opportunities available to local musicians, sound technicians and young people interested in the live music industry. 

“Although Red By Night is a young business, it had already established itself as one of the leading live music venues in the Black Country when the pandemic struck and is leading the Waterfront’s re-emergence as a great place for a night out.

“Stage Audio Service’s work sustains events ranging from local community functions like the Himley fireworks to international festivals like Glastonbury. I was delighted to support both bids and cannot wait to see these businesses operating again when restrictions are lifted.”

Today’s announcement brings the Government's total investment across grants, capital and repayable finance from the Culture Recovery Fund so far to more than £1.2 billion across over 5,000 individual cultural organisations and sites.

The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead. Secretary of State for Culture, Oliver Dowden, said:

“Our record-breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced.

“Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors - helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead."


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