Shakespeare’s Globe and leading arts bodies welcome funding ‘lifeline’

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·4-min read

Leading venues and arts bodies including Shakespeare’s Globe and the Old Vic theatre have described the Government’s £75 million grants package as a “lifeline”.

Thirty-five organisations will receive between £1 million and £3 million from the package, which comes from the Government’s £1.57 billion culture recovery fund.

Neil Constable, chief executive of Shakespeare’s Globe, and the venue’s artistic director Michelle Terry welcomed the news in a joint statement.

Coronavirus – Mon Oct 12, 2020
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

They 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 (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) 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.”

London’s Shakespeare’s Globe will receive £2,985,707 to support start-up costs for a planned reopening in spring 2021.

Coronavirus – Sat Oct 24, 2020
The Old Vic will receive £3 million (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Old Vic will receive £3 million from the fund.

Its artistic director Matthew Warcus and executive director Kate Varah said: “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.”

Sadler’s Wells, the Islington performing arts venue specialising in dance, will receive £2,975,000.

Artistic director and chief executive Alistair Spalding and executive director Britannia Morton said: “With this support we will continue to make and share world-class dance for audiences from across the UK and around the world.

Culture Recovery Fund
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden during a visit to the Design Museum (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“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 of the English National Ballet – the recipient of £3 million – said: “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.”

The Olivier Awards 2018 – London
Lesley Joseph hailed funding for the Theatre Royal Plymouth (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Tim Marlow, director and chief executive of the 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.”

Philip Bernays, chief executive of the 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.”

Actress Lesley Joseph, best known for starring in 1990s sitcom Birds Of A Feather, welcomed a £1,896,000 grant for the Theatre Royal Plymouth.

She said: “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, chairman of the board of trustees for Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, said: “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.”

The venue will receive £2,854,444.