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New wave of Cultural Recovery Fund grants unveiled for Nimax Theatres, Chichester Festival Theatre and more

Around £400 million has been given out

The Apollo Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre and Curve in Leicester
© Left:Siobhan Doran, Centre: Philip Vile, right: Ellie Kurttz

A further £400 million in grants and loans has been given to cultural venues and organisations across England.

These funds are part of the Cultural Recovery Fund, set to help arts companies while the pandemic continues and restrictions remain in place to help prevent the spread of Covid.

The Criterion Theatre, soon to be home to the freshly announced Amélie the Musical, is receiving £164,501, taking its total support from the Culture Recovery Fund to £493,504.

Stephen Fry, chair of the Criterion Theatre Trust, said: "The Criterion Theatre Trust is just delighted to have received CRF second-round grant funding in support of our plans to re-open in May 2021. Offering live theatre to a socially distanced audience presents a financial challenge, but the support extended through the Culture Recovery Fund is a boost that allows us to re-open in a Covid-safe way.

"The Trust will be able to continue its work and, when that glorious and happy time comes, to welcome audiences back to our beautiful theatre, to enjoy once again the irreplaceable and unforgettable experience of live theatre."

Nimax Theatres, who operate six West End venues (all of which are set to open from late May 2021), will receive close to £900,000, to help prepare for the return of live audiences.

Salford-based arts centre The Lowry Trust will receive £7.3 million while The Sage Gateshead will receive £3 million to support operational costs.

Chichester Festival Theatre will also receive a grant, with supporter Hugh Bonneville saying: "Underlying the UK's international film and TV success is the best of British Theatre. So I am particularly delighted that Chichester Festival Theatre, my local theatre, is being supported so generously by the Culture Recovery Fund. The grant will enable it to reopen its doors with confidence, renew the relationship with its audience and take its place once again at the heart of its vibrant community."

Other recipients include Camden Roundhouse, which is being given an award of £1,500,000 to welcome back audiences to live events. Emma Rice's Wise Children company will receive £173,598 to return to rehearsals and restart their unique professional training programmes. Other recipients included the Young Vic, Belgrade Theatre, Hackney Empire, Park Theatre, Hope Theatre and The Watermill, which was successful this time around after finding itself ineligible in 2020.

Paul Hart of The Watermill said: "We are extremely grateful to DCMS and Arts Council England for awarding The Watermill Theatre a grant in the second round of Culture Recovery Fund which is announced today. It offers renewed optimism as we work towards reopening the theatre after a hugely difficult year. We are confident that thanks to this funding and with the continued support of our loyal audiences we will bounce back to produce bold and imaginative theatre, and we look forward to welcoming audiences to our unique theatre once again. Buoyed by this investment, our commitment to celebrate theatre, inspire creativity and connect communities is stronger than ever."

Curve in Leicester received a further £371,000, with leaders Chris Stafford and Nikolai Foster saying: "As we now look to a brighter future, this second CRF grant will enable us to begin to rebuild our business. We plan to reopen Curve at the end of May with a special season of work celebrating our local artists, our incredible city and the joy of theatre. Through this grant we will be able to employ over 100 freelancers, engage 1000s of learners, participants and audiences, and bring communities back into our city centre. Leicester has been severely affected by Covid-19 and Curve will play a key role in helping our city recover from the devastation of the pandemic."

Glastonbury Festival will receive £900,000 to help the festival continue in 2021, with two smaller events this year, as well as to carry the festival through to 2022.

All of this is against a backdrop of increased frustration among those in the freelance community, many of whom have not received direct support throughout the pandemic. Yesterday, Tamsin Greig spoke to WhatsOnStage about how dire the impact this will have.

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