Lifeline for Entertainment Venues

Arts Council England today announced an investment of £257 million in 1,385 venues, theatres, museums and cultural organisations across England, through the first tranche of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund Grants Program which Arts Council England are administering.

Further announcements will be made in the coming weeks, today’s announcement is only for round one of the grants, reflecting applications for under £1 million.

In our region awards of over half a million pounds have been made to Snape Maltings, Spa Pavilion Felixstowe, Southend Theatres, Peterborough New Theatre and Harlow Playhouse. Other theatres have also benefited with grants being awarded to New Wolsey in Ipswich, Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds.

Music venues Epic Studios in Norwich, The Junction in Cambridge and The Waterfront in Norwich have also been awarded much needed funds which will hopefully help them survive.

In all about 90% of music venues across England were in receipt of grants.

We’re looking at a really incredibly positive major intervention by government that’s going to have massive impact on the grassroots sector.

Mark Davyd, Music Venues Trust

The funding has been widely welcomed as a gamechanger for venues struggling to stay viable, but there are still industry concerns for the freelancers who work in these venues either as performers or as technicians, many of whom have missed out on grants.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians, an industry body, said the funds would not create a “cultural bounceback” and called for a freelance performers support scheme. This would include a cultural exemption on VAT for tickets and a guaranteed fee for each performer.

You can read the full list of grants awarded on Arts Council England’s website.