Comedy clubs, circuses, festivals, regional theatres and local museums are among 588 arts and cultural organisations receiving a share of more than £76 million in essential support, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced.
“This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back.,” Mr Dowden said. “Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.
“These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”
The funding will provide a lifeline for organisations and venues engaging local communities with culture across England. It will protect nationally and internationally renowned organisations like the Military Wives Choir, the Kneehigh Theatre in Cornwall, the Comedy Store venues in Manchester and London and the Hepworth Wakefield’s collection of modern British art. The West End’s longest running play, The Mousetrap, will also receive a grant of £228,973 to help restart performances to socially distanced audiences.
A wide range of art forms will benefit from these awards including operating circuses and training for future performers. Zippos Circus, one of the oldest circuses still running in the UK, will receive £628,986 to continue with Covid-secure performances across the country and the National Centre for Circus Arts will be able to safely provide workshops and classes for artists and young people thanks to a grant of £466,000.
Funding is also going to festivals across the country from grassroots arts festival BlackFest based in Liverpool, which is receiving £50,000 to trial socially distanced events, to Shangri-La Glastonbury, the contemporary art producers behind one of the iconic festival’s most legendary stages where some of the world’s biggest artists including Lady Gaga and Madonna have performed, which is being awarded £61,059 to develop a new digital art and music event platform and continue work with emerging artists.
There are also grants for grassroot music venues like Night and Day in Manchester whose support for local unsigned artists has launched major careers for well-known acts like Elbow.
Comedy venues and festivals from Liverpool to London are also benefiting from this tranche of grants. The internationally renowned Leicester Comedy Festival is the longest running and largest comedy festival of its kind in Europe and a grant of £105,000 will allow planning to continue for next year’s festival. Liverpool’s only purpose built comedy club, The Hot Water Comedy Club, is receiving a £450,000 grant from the Culture Recovery Fund to cover fixed costs for the comedy club and the additional measures needed to make the venue Covid-safe for performances. The Comedy Store, the largest employer of professional comedy performers in the UK and one of Europe’s most significant comedy institutions, will receive £964,252 to retain staff in both city locations and deliver an exciting programme that will provide fees for more than 250 freelancers.
The funding will help allow socially distanced performances to restart where safe to do so, venues to plan for reopening, protect jobs and create opportunities for freelancers. It follows £257 million in grants awarded to a range of arts organisations and cultural venues on Monday 12th October by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Organisations have been awarded grants under £1 million in the first two rounds of funding this week. Darlington Hippodrome in County Durham is receiving the largest grant of £1 million to run a programme of engagement activities including youth theatre courses, adult dance classes and community events ranging from themed tours of the theatre to art classes for local people.
Picture: A theatre sign. (LanceB).