Theatre News

National Theatre, RSC, Southbank Centre and more receive major Cultural Recovery Fund loans

Organisations have received large-scale recovery loans

The RSC, the National and the the Bridge Theatre's owners London Theatre Company were among three organisations receiving funds
The RSC, the National and the the Bridge Theatre's owners London Theatre Company were among three organisations receiving funds
© Left: RSC, photo by Peter Cook, centre: Cameron Slater and right: Craig Sugden

The National Theatre, Southbank Centre, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Shakespeare Company are among those organisations receiving major loans as part of the Cultural Recovery Fund.

The RSC has been loaned £19,400,000 to enable the organisation to present shows from spring 2021, while also maintaining their expansion outreach work in schools.

The National Theatre has received a loan of £19,700,000, ahead of performances of its pantomime Dick Whittington as well as the filmed version of Romeo and Juliet with Josh O'Connor and Jessie Buckley – due to be broadcast early next year.

The full organisations receiving these loans include:

– English National Opera (£8,500,000)
– Historic Royal Palaces (£40,000,000)
– London Theatre Company (£5,000,000)
– Mark Goucher Ltd (£4,075,000)
– Michael Harrison Entertainment (£4,500,000)
– National Theatre
– Production Park (£12,000,000)
– Royal Albert Hall (£20,740,000)
– Royal Opera House (£21,700,000 – the largest sum)
– Royal Shakespeare Company
– Southbank Centre (£10,911,000)

Olivia Colman, who starred in Lucy Kirkwood's Mosquitoes at the National Theatre, said: "Theatre is at the heart of Britain's creativity and the National Theatre is a crucial part of that, whether working with young people across the country or making shows to thrill global audiences. Alongside the grants to smaller theatres, it's wonderful to hear that the NT's future is being supported by this lifeline loan."

Nicholas Hynter, co-founder of London Theatre Company and The Bridge Theatre, said: "The grants made already this autumn by the Culture Recovery Fund have been an essential intervention in the crisis that has befallen the performing arts. The announcement of the CRF Repayable Finance Scheme is a further vital infusion of cash into a sector struck hardest by Covid, and we are very grateful to be included amongst these loans.

"We're determined to do all we can to generate employment for the freelance community and joy for audiences. People are going to need ever more the stimulation of live performance and we're determined to make our contribution as energetically as we can."

The loans will have an initial repayment holiday of up to four years with a low interest rate and up to 20-year repayment term. Despite investment in organisations since mid-autumn, a large portion of the freelance workforce continues to go unsupported due to their ineligibility for the SEISS schemes set up by the UK government.

A new £400 million Culture Recovery Fund round has also been unveiled, which was, according to DCMS, "held back in previous rounds to allow the Government to respond to the changing public health picture". Further details are to be revealed, but the total will include £300 million in grants and £100 million in loans – these will also be available to aid organisations' transition back to usual operating mode from April 2021.

There will also be £60 million in grants to kickstart capital development projects across the UK. Kickstart awards were given to the likes of Polka Theatre, Camden People's Theatre, New Wolsey Theatre and Gecko Theatre.

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