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Roundup: UK Artists and Institutions Respond to the Government's £1.57 Billion Rescue Package For The Arts

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Roundup: UK Artists and Institutions Respond to the Government's £1.57 Billion Rescue Package For The Arts

As BroadwayWorld previously reported, the UK Government has announced a £1.57 billion rescue package to help the nation's cultural, arts and heritage institutions weather the impact of the health crisis.

The funding will go to support struggling theatres, museums, galleries, music venues, heritage sites and independent cinemas. It includes £880 million of grants for the financial year to April 2021, supplemented by £270 million of repayable loans.

£120 million of capital investment will be made to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England which were paused due to the pandemic. The devolved administrations will receive £188 million: £33 million for Northern Ireland, £97 million for Scotland and £59 million for Wales.

Arts institutions are responding to this announcement, including The National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, and more! Check out all of the responses below.


Royal Shakespeare Company

RSC Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon and Artistic Director, Gregory Doran said: "We are very pleased and relieved to hear news of the government's support package and investment in the arts and culture sector during this critical time. Thank you to the DCMS, HM Treasury and the many people in the sector who have worked together to demonstrate the critical role the arts play in our economic wellbeing and public life.

"We hope this investment will provide meaningful support for the whole sector: for the skilled workforce who create world-class theatre, and for theatres and companies at every scale throughout the UK. We are all ready to be part of a powerful civic, emotional and economic recovery for the country, and will be invaluable contributors to the UK's ability to re-emerge from the pandemic locally, nationally and on a world stage.

"We look forward to receiving the detail of the support package when we will see in full how this will help the survival of the sector, and support our next steps to welcoming audiences back to live theatre. "

Arts Council England

Royal Opera House

National Theatre

Official London Theatre

London Theatre Company

Nicholas Hytner, Co-director, said: "This is a much better plan than anyone expected and it's a big achievement for DCMS. Obviously there's a lot of work to done and questions to be asked about how quickly these funds can be distributed, how they reach the artists who need support, and how soon we can connect with the audiences we're so desperate to serve. But I warmly welcome the way Rishi Sunak and Oliver Dowden have responded to the tenacious and detailed lobbying of the entire arts sector."

Hugh Bonneville

Birmingham Hippodrome

Erica Whyman

Tamara Rojo

The Old Vic

Lyric Hammersmith

Tom Littler

Shakespeare's Globe

Bristol Old Vic

Artistic Director Tom Morris said:

"We are delighted by the scale and range of last night's announcement. Artists, economists, producers and audience members have powerfully argued that the national theatre infrastructure would be impossible to rebuild if we were to let it collapse. Government has heard that call and invested.

There's much to find out about how the funds will be applied but this investment feels like a decisive vote of confidence by Rishi Sunak and Oliver Dowden in the enormous contribution that the arts and culture can make to our social, educational, creative and economic recovery from the COVID19 disaster. It can't save every organisation or support every artist, but we unreservedly welcome and applaud it.

Like others across the sector, we look forward to working closely with ACE and DCMS to ensure that the funds can be released quickly enough to minimise the damage of cuts being made to many organisations, and be used speedily to employ the freelance artists who have been so badly hit by the pandemic.

We need to make sure that money reaches freelance artists fast, not only through the hardship funds announced from Netflix and others, but through meaningful employment too.

In Bristol, we fervently hope these funds will allow us renew our work with our communities in the immediate term, and to rebuild our programmes through experimental performances until we can play safely to full houses again.

It is also hugely encouraging to see that some in government are thinking ahead towards the next five years of cultural investment. The economic impact and global reputation of British creativity has been tested, proven and newly understood through the many debates in parliament and the media over the last few months. Today's announcement creates a brilliant platform for a cross-party conversation to ensure that we have the strongest possible cultural infrastructure to deliver the inclusive and equalising vision of the Arts Council's ten year strategy, Let's Create.

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have both referenced Roosevelt's New Deal in relation to the infrastructure investment to be announced this Wednesday. Art and culture were also a crucial part of that visionary economic intervention, and Britain's artists in every art form are now ready to play a central role in the transformation of our country to make it fairer, greener, more representative and more confident in the transformative value of creativity for all."

Southbank Centre

Northern Ballet

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Nikolai Foster, Curve Leicester

Royal Court

Christine Payne, General Secretary of Equity

"Equity welcomes the scale of the package announced tonight - but it won't be money well spent unless each of the union's four pillars of its live performance re-opening plan are adequately funded.

"Critically, it's unclear as to how this money will be used on our first pillar - supporting the workforce through this crisis. How will the £880 million in grants for the sector support and maintain the freelance and self employed creative workers our UK arts infrastructure depends on?

"If this investment does not reach creative workers - the actors, dancers, stage management, singers, variety artists, directors, designers, choreographers and many other highly skilled workers in our talent base, we risk the diversity and success of the wider creative industries - worth £112 billion to the economy.

"These workers have campaigned for this deal; they can't be left behind. Our question to Government is - how will this and future packages preserve the talent base of freelancers, self-employed creatives and staff employed in arts organisations? It's very welcome that this appears to inject meaningful investment into our third pillar: protecting venues & infrastructure. Equity remains hopeful that the details will support all four."

Jon Morgan, Director of The Theatres Trust

"Theatres Trust welcomes the announcement of £1.57 billion additional support for the arts and cultural sectors, and the recognition of the importance of these sectors to the UK economy and national life. We will need to know more detail of how this money will be allocated across the different areas to fully assess its benefit - we would hope that a significant proportion will be reserved for the performing arts. Theatres have been amongst the hardest hit industries by the pandemic and are still at risk as they are unable to operate viably while social distancing is in place.

"It remains to be seen whether this amount will be sufficient to replace the furlough scheme, as it begins to taper from August and ends in October, at a time when we still do not have timescales for theatres reopening.

"We are pleased to see investment in capital projects included in this announcement. Our research has shown that there are more than 100 theatre capital projects worth almost £800 million that have been stalled by the pandemic by anywhere between three and 18 months at a cost of upwards of £66 million."

Caroline Norbury, Chief Executive Officer, Creative Industries Federation and Creative England

"This unprecedented £1.57 billion investment is a seismic step forward. Our creative industries are teetering on the brink of cultural collapse - and this could be the game changer we need.

"The voice of the creative sector has been heard loud and clear by the government and we warmly welcome their response. This investment acknowledges the mission critical role that the UK's creative industries will play in recovery and growth in all parts of the country.

"However while this support will rescue many, so much has changed during the pandemic; there won't necessarily be an easy return to normal. It is particularly heartening to see the reference to supporting freelancers, who are a phenomenally important part of the creative industries ecosystem.

"But there will be so much more to do to ensure that our world-beating creative sector can thrive once more and as we move forwards through the challenging days and months ahead it will be crucial that the creative industries work together to reimagine all of our futures.

"I'm confident the creative industries will play a vital role in powering the UK out of the forthcoming economic crisis and this investment will help the creative and cultural sector to rise to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead."

Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England

"We greatly welcome this very significant investment by the government in the future of arts and culture in this country and look forward to working with them on next steps. I know our amazing artists and creative organisations will repay the faith that the government has shown by demonstrating the range of their creativity, by serving their communities and by helping the nation recover as we emerge from the pandemic."

Deborah Shaw, Chief Executive of The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury

"We are hugely delighted and mightily relieved by the announcement last night of £1.57 billion in emergency grants and loans for theatres, museums, galleries and heritage sites by the government, supporting cultural organisations through to April 2021.

Our thanks to the DCMS and the Treasury for recognising the importance of the UK's cultural sector and making this unprecedented investment, and also to everyone who has lobbied so hard and put the case so eloquently about the vital part the arts play in our lives and the economic imperatives in supporting it. We look forward to hearing full details of the scheme over the next few weeks.

The existential threat we've been living with - that the whole national theatre infrastructure might be destroyed in this crisis - has been lifted. We can now get on with our plans for a staged reopening of The Marlowe and building to a successful future.

Of course, enormous challenges remain as we face an extended closure period and what might be several years before we build back to a full recovery. But for now we are very very happy.

We would also like to thank our audiences who have been so supportive and to remind everyone that the best way to support our theatre right now is to purchase tickets for future performances, join as a member or donate to our Love Your Theatre appeal."

Chichester Festival Theatre

Sheffield Crucible Theatre

Selladoor Worldwide

Selladoor Worldwide, one of the country's largest touring companies, and operators of Queen's Theatre, Barnstaple, The Landmark Ilfracombe and the Peterborough New Theatre, welcome the announcement from Department of Culture, Media and Sports Secretary of State Oliver Dowden MP and Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP that a support package of £1.57bn will be injected into the arts sector.

David Hutchinson CEO says: "We hugely welcome the Government's announcement of a £1.57bn package of support for the arts and culture last night. This funding promises to offer our sector a vital lifeline as we continue to plan survival through COVID-19. The theatre sector has been decimated since closure in March, and what is clear is that we won't be able to open our doors anytime soon as running a commercially viable theatre model with social distancing just isn't possible. What the Government have done today is to strongly acknowledge the value of the arts - both economic and cultural - and that is an incredibly positive endorsement for all in the theatre sector who have suffered many months of adversity during one of the biggest crises to hit the industry in the last century.

The absolute key is in the detail now, of how these funds can support the wide ecology of people and organisations in the arts - and do so quickly. We've seen thousands of redundancies, many theatres on the brink of collapse and the damage of losing vital skills, experience and artists from our sector for good. We need to mobilise fast to start working as a sector to move together to the rebuild stage.

This Government package has given the theatre sector a vital lifeline to continue our role - not just promoting the arts, but in communities, schools and as placemakers up and down the country."

Phillip Rowntree CFO says: "The economic impact of COVID-19 has been felt by individuals and businesses throughout the country, but none more than the theatre sector, one of the first to close and certainly one of the last to reopen again.

The Government announcement of a £1.57bn support package is a vital lifeline for a sector so badly affected by this pandemic and we are very grateful for the acknowledgement of the value of arts and culture in the UK.

Time is of the essence now, and in order for us to make best use of these funds we need clear guidance on the Government's timeline for allowing venues to reopen again. With the ability to plan the sector as a whole can ensure the Government's investment today benefits as many individuals and businesses as possible ensuring a vibrant and thriving sector tomorrow."

Mercury Theatre Colchester

"Yesterday's Government announcement was very, very welcome indeed. After weeks of tirelessly campaigning to keep our industry afloat, the sector and its supporters have been heard, and while we're not out of the woods, it's certainly a step in the right direction.

There's no doubt that the relief package will be a real lifeline not only for regional theatres like ourselves, but for the entire sector across all art-forms. I join my peers in looking forward to seeing a detailed description of how this funding will be distributed, hopefully alongside an update on when and how venues can start to reopen, so that we can plan properly and safely for our future.

We at the Mercury are also in a unique position; we were mid-way through a largescale capital redevelopment project when lockdown began, so our plans for the future must not only factor in Government advice and funding, but also a now extended building timeline and additional costs for this project.


We were fortunate to have had reserves put aside for a rainy day and those, alongside the invaluable Job Retention Scheme, have kept us afloat over the last few months. The vital Government support package has arrived just in time, and we look forward to working in partnership with the Arts Council England and others to ensure an equitable and speedy distribution to allow us to reopen properly and safely for the benefit of artists and audiences alike.

This support offers an opportunity to build a new dynamic partnership with Government where arts and culture are central to the solution. The financial support is an investment in the future economic success and prosperity of the nation. The sector currently earns more than £112billion per year and had been growing at 5 times the speed of the wider economy. Last year the Mercury alone contributed more than £4million to the local economy of Colchester and North Essex. In addition, our Mercury Rising capital project is also contributing over £9million locally. Together with the business community, retail and the public sector we can play an active part in ensuring a successful recovery locally, regionally and nationally.

While we eagerly await more details, many of those working in the arts are continuing to do what they do best: working with passion and dedication to find ways to safely take their creativity into their communities while they are most in need. It is so important that we recognise how much of our industry's work is only possible due to freelancers, creatives and grassroots companies, and that we all commit to supporting these adaptable, innovative people alongside those on our regular payroll, as the sector looks to the future.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank our funders, audiences, supporters, staff and the wider theatre community for their unwavering patience and support during these difficult times. I can't wait to welcome everyone back to the Mercury Theatre when is it safe for us to do so, and with yesterday's announcement in mind, our plans to do just that can continue with confidence."

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