More than £165 million in repayable finance announced to support major arts and heritage institutions as Culture Fund marks £1 billion milestone

  • The Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund surpasses £1 billion milestone, supporting more than 75,000 jobs, with remaining £400 million on the way as plans for a further round of support announced

  • £60 million in capital funding has been awarded for ongoing construction and maintenance with 75% awarded to organisations outside of London

The Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund surpasses £1 billion milestone, supporting more than 75,000 jobs, with remaining £400 million on the way as plans for a further round of support announced

£60 million in capital funding has been awarded for ongoing construction and maintenance with 75% awarded to organisations outside of London

More than £165 million in repayable finance has been offered to support some of the country’s most iconic cultural organisations, including the National Theatre, Southbank Centre, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Shakespeare Company, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced today.

New £400 million Culture Recovery Fund round

Plans for allocating the remainder of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund are also being announced today which will help organisations look to the future. Funding, which was held back in previous rounds to allow the Government to respond to the changing public health picture, will be available for organisations who are at imminent risk of collapse before the end of this Financial Year. £300 million in grants and £100 million in loans will also be available to support organisations’ transition back to usual operating mode from April 2021. Further detail on the rounds will be released in due course.

£165 million repayable finance offers

The £165 million loans have been offered to 11 nationally and internationally significant organisations that demonstrated opportunities to engage local communities through education and outreach programmes.

The organisations receiving loans provide work for more than 9,000 people, taking the total number of jobs supported by the CRF to more than 75,000, with many more freelancers and jobs in vital supply chain industries also benefitting, as part of the government’s Plan for Jobs to support, protect and create jobs across the UK.

Bespoke loans have been tailored for cultural institutions with an initial repayment holiday of up to four years, low interest rate and up to 20-year repayment term to ensure they are affordable for arts and heritage organisations.

The funding will help world-renowned organisations like the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) which has been producing fresh interpretations of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and championing the work of new playwrights for a global audiences for more than sixty years, as well as working with young people across the country through its education programmes.

The RSC’s loan of £19,400,000 will enable the company to look to reopen full-scale productions in Stratford-upon-Avon and London in Spring 2021. It will also enable the RSC to continue its national education and partnership activity and ensure the company can revisit previous touring plans.

The security of the repayable finance will also help protect organisations – like the National Theatre – as they restart performances and programmes, providing work for staff and freelancers in the run-up to Christmas.

The National Theatre will benefit from £19,700,000 of support as it reopens, helping the venue return to a more financially sustainable footing. The National Theatre, which led digital innovation during lockdown to make some of their most famous productions available for free, is reopening with a pantomime for socially distanced audiences as well as filming a new version of Romeo and Juliet for TV starring Jessie Buckley and Josh O’Connor. Earlier this week, the Culture Secretary visited to see its final preparations for Dick Whittington which begins performances today and will be available for families to stream online for free over Christmas.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:

This government promised it would be here for culture and today’s announcement is proof we’ve kept our word.

The £1 billion invested so far through the Culture Recovery Fund has protected tens of thousands of jobs at cultural organisations across the UK, with more support still to come through a second round of applications.

Today we’re extending a huge helping hand to the crown jewels of UK culture – so that they can continue to inspire future generations all around the world.

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.

Lisa Burger, Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive, National Theatre, said:

The National Theatre is incredibly grateful and relieved to secure this emergency loan from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. It is a vital lifeline that will form part of our recovery, helping to ensure that the National Theatre will be here for culture and here for the nation, now and in the future. While the challenges of this pandemic are not over, we can now begin to rebuild the NT with a renewed commitment to make theatre for everyone that celebrates the diversity of our nation. Together with support we hope to secure from our partners, donors and audiences, the loan will enable us to invest in the freelance creative workforce to produce some of the world’s most exciting theatre. We stand ready to play our part in supporting the UK’s economic and emotional recovery from the effects of COVID-19.

Capital Funding to venues across England

As part of the Culture Recovery Fund, £60 million in grants is being delivered through the Capital Kickstart Fund. This will accelerate previously-funded projects that will revitalise core assets in local communities and provide opportunities for work across a range of sectors.

Further investment for capital projects impacted by the pandemic has also been awarded to 74 arts organisations of all sizes, continuing the government’s investment in cultural infrastructure across the country. To date, more than £107 million in capital grant funding has been awarded to 260 projects across arts and heritage sectors, with more than three quarters based outside of London, stimulating the wider supply chain across the country and providing opportunities for skilled construction workers and conservation experts to work on specialist heritage renovations and cutting-edge cultural projects.

Recipients include the Turner Contemporary in Margate which has been awarded £264,000 to complete a long-term transformation of its visitor facilities and digital infrastructure as well as improving the environmental sustainability of the site. The gallery has been a catalyst for the social and economic regeneration of the area and the funding will help the gallery look to reopen in early 2021 to minimise the impact of continued closure on the local community.

The Factory will receive £21,000,000 in capital investment towards the completion of the project to create a world-class cultural space in the heart of Manchester. As well as providing a multi-use space for diverse arts activity, the state-of-the-art venue will be the permanent home for the ambitious year-round creative programme of Manchester International Festival which attracts visitors to the city from across the country and creates opportunities for creative freelancers.

Nottingham’s Broadway will receive £144,000 to refurbish vital visitor spaces whilst reducing the centre’s energy usage to create a more environmentally sustainable future to the regional film hub. The project was due to be completed by September 2020, and this funding will ensure the plans can be completed quickly and safely to reopen and welcome back audiences.

Alexandra Palace has also been announced as the latest recipient of grant funding through the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, distributed on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England. £2,967,600 will allow one of the capital’s leading multi-use cultural venues to continue with a diverse programme of live, covid-secure events this winter by covering increased essential costs and supplementing income.

The financing announced today takes the total allocated from the Culture Recovery Fund over £1 billion, delivering on the government’s commitment to be here for culture in every corner of the country during this pandemic.

Devolved Administrations received £188 million through the Barnett Formula to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund has a fundamental and far-reaching impact across all four nations. Northern Ireland has allocated £29 million to a Covid-19 Culture, Languages, Arts and Heritage Support Programme, and over £5 million to a Heritage Recovery Fund. Wales has established a £63.7 million Cultural Recovery Fund which includes £20 million to support music, dance, theatre, literature, and the arts allocated by Arts Council Wales. Scotland’s £59 million funding package has also supported the arts, heritage, and grassroots music and established a £15 million Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund.

In England, more than £500 million in grants up to £3 million have been awarded to over 3,000 museums, music venues, independent cinemas, circuses, heritage sites and theatres across the country. Nearly 70% of funding has been awarded to recipients outside of London.

Nearly £100 million in additional Grant in Aid has been allocated to national museums, and other Arm’s Length Bodies including the British Library, British Film Institute, Churches Conservation Trust and English Heritage.

Notes to Editors

On Monday 7 December, the Culture Recovery Board approved terms for loan agreements which are expected to be signed shortly following a period of final negotiations. The full list of the organisations receiving repayable finance from the Culture Recovery Fund is as follows:

  • English National Opera
  • Historic Royal Palaces
  • London Theatre Company
  • Mark Goucher Ltd.
  • Michael Harrison Entertainment
  • National Theatre
  • Production Park
  • Royal Albert Hall
  • Royal Opera House
  • Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Southbank Centre

View the full list of the recipients from the Capital Kickstart Fund.

Decisions on loan applications were taken by the independent Culture Recovery Board, chaired by Sir Damon Buffini. The diverse board applied a wide range of financial and cultural expertise to the fair and rigorous decision-making process.

Additional quotes

John Barnes, Chief Executive, Historic Royal Palaces, said:

After a difficult year, news of this loan comes as a great relief for Historic Royal Palaces. As a self-funding charity dependent on visitor income, our finances have been decimated by the pandemic. The scale of the losses we have faced has been so significant that, at times, the future of our charity has been uncertain.

This loan is the lifeline we need to begin our recovery. It will help us to cover our losses this year, after using all our reserves, and the further losses we expect to face in 2021, until we are able to support ourselves again. We are grateful to the DCMS and Arts Council England for providing us with this vital assistance and confident in our ability to repay the loan from the income that we will generate in better times.

After a year focused on survival, we can now look to the future with optimism. For us, that means loving and looking after six of the most wonderful palaces in the world, and creating space for spirits to stir and be stirred. We are ready to play our part in rebuilding the UK tourism industry.

Alex Beard, Chief Executive, Royal Opera House, said:

We are hugely grateful for the significant and vital support from Arts Council England and DCMS through the Culture Recovery Fund. This repayable finance will help address some of the immediate financial damage caused by this crisis, easing our route to re-opening and paving the way for the world’s greatest artists to once more return to our stages.

As we look to the future, we will continue to make outstanding and imaginative work which connects with audiences around the world, and will continue to embed audience and artist diversity, nation-wide learning and participation and environmental sustainability at the heart of everything we do.

Continuing global uncertainty, the inevitable long-term economic impact of this enduring crisis, and the challenges of socially-distanced performances mean that the road ahead is not smooth for our industry, so this essential financial support forms just one part of our four-part recovery plan. Alongside this package of government support is a programme of restructuring and redundancy, realising such value as we can from our assets and an extensive fundraising campaign which will allow us to reach our goal of reopening in full, as per the Government’s five stage plan for recovery.

Elaine Bedell, Chief Executive, Southbank Centre, said:

We’re incredibly grateful to the Culture Recovery Board for this vote of confidence in the Southbank Centre and our business recovery plan. We lost £25 million of our income this year and this loan will help us stabilise our finances as we prepare to reopen all our venues safely next Spring. We still have challenges – but we can meet them now with creative optimism and look forward to rebuilding our ambitious artistic programme. We’re acutely aware that this loan is taxpayers money and we must be sure that we deliver value back to all the communities we serve, in London and across the UK. We can’t wait to throw open our doors once more and welcome back our much-missed audiences and visitors.

Edward Gardner, Principal Conductor, London Philharmonic Orchestra:

The Southbank Centre is an essential part of London’s artistic lifeblood. This support will help our mission to bring the most adventurous music making to the most people.

Bridget Riley said:

The Southbank Centre grew out of the Festival of Britain immediately after World War II. It has celebrated art across the disciplines and provides a much loved and highly valued centre south of the River Thames for work that may not be seen, performed, or heard elsewhere. It was splendid to hear that the South Bank Centre is in line to receive a government loan to help it to continue its vital programme and to inspire audiences in London, across the UK and internationally.

Antony Gormley said:

The Southbank Centre is a place of collective gathering at the core of our cultural life : a celebratory platform for the visual and performative arts bringing solace, inspiration and joy . I love it.

Lee Brooks, Chief Executive, Production Park, said:

The Production Park team is delighted to receive support through the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund in what has been a very turbulent year for the live events sector across the UK. Whilst the fund will support a good deal of the sector’s businesses keep afloat in the short term, we’re using the fund to invest strategically in a long-term development programme at the park.

The sector has suffered a real blow this year, but it’s also allowed us to be fleet of foot and address diversification and growth areas. We’re treating the package as an economic stimulus, looking to the future of the live events sector, so that we can create jobs, opportunities, and revenues for years to come when the sector bounces back after Covid.

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.

Stuart Murphy, CEO, English National Opera, said:

Everyone at ENO is enormously grateful to Oliver Dowden, Sarah Healey and everyone at DCMS, and Adam Jeanes and the team at Arts Council England for their support during this pandemic. Today’s news allows us to continue ENO’s long history of innovation and plan for the future. We can’t wait to use this financial support to continue creating brilliant opera available to everyone.

Nick Serota, Arts Council England, said:

Today’s announcements are another vital step in securing the future of England’s cultural sector. The support for capital projects will help to ensure that we maintain an innovative, sustainable cultural infrastructure that supports world class creative work. The Repayable Loans will enable some of our most significant and internationally recognised cultural organisations to weather the effects of Covid-19 and reopen when it is safe to do so. The Arts Council is grateful to the Government for their exceptional support through the Culture Recovery Fund.

Noma Dumezweni, RSC Associate Artist

This news means the RSC can secure the future of its invaluable partnership work in schools and communities all over the country, ensuring the next generation have access to Shakespeare and the performing arts, and that it can redouble its efforts to nurture and celebrate the skills and talents of our diverse nation.

I am delighted that the Culture Recovery Fund has been able to make a difference to so many arts organisations; this is an important step on the long road to recovery for our world-beating workforce and in helping reinforce to those starting out, that places like RSC are part of a vital lineage in the arts

Other organisations which have been offered repayable finance include:

Royal Opera House – A loan of £21,700,000 will stabilise the Royal Opera House, home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Royal Opera House normally attracts 650,000 people to performances every year and hosts cinema and outdoor screenings across the UK and in 42 countries around the world. A reworked version of the Christmas classic, The Nutcracker, opens today performed by the Royal Ballet to socially distanced audiences and the Royal Opera will host a Christmas Concert of festive favourites.

Southbank Centre – £10,911,000 in repayable finance will stabilise the finances, replenish the depleted reserves of the UK’s largest arts centre and allow it to open all of its venues with an ambitious artistic programme.

The Southbank Centre works with over 100,000 artists and creatives a year from across the UK and provides a wide ranging programme of over 3,000 performances, exhibitions and events including classical music, visual art, literature, gigs, comedy and festivals. Over 40 per cent of the Southbank Centre’s annual programme is free of charge for the public to access.

Production Park – Financing of £12,000,000 will deliver Production Park’s plans to create a Research and Development and business incubation facility on site in Wakefield to support local businesses in the live events and creative industries. The investment will also help Production Park to expand their existing studio facilities and create a managed workspace to nurture up and coming talent in the region.

Production Park is a Yorkshire-based community of studios, businesses and educational facilities working together to create live events technology, produce live experiences and share live industry best practice. As well as providing rehearsal space for some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, including Coldplay, Little Mix and Peter Kay, Production Park is home to more than 20 live events businesses and higher education provider, the Backstage Academy, which offers degrees and short courses for the creative industries.

Royal Albert Hall – £20,740,000 will support one of the country’s busiest music venues until it can return to pre-covid levels of programming. The Royal Albert Hall, which welcomed more than 1.7 million people to 391 events in the auditorium and over 1,000 in other spaces in 2019, has reopened with a winter programme of performances to socially distanced audiences.

Since opening in 1871, the Royal Albert Hall has hosted some of the world’s leading figures in music, dance, sport, fashion and film as a performance venue and the home of the BAFTAs, Oliviers and British Fashion Awards. The Royal Albert Hall also runs extensive education and outreach programmes to engage people of all ages and local communities with music.

English National Opera – A loan of £8,500,000 will enable the English National Opera to produce performances to live, socially-distanced audiences and broadcast work to audiences across the country, as it did in lockdown with Mozart’s Requiem on BBC2. It will also allow ENO to expand social prescribing projects such as ENO Breathe which saw ENO partner with Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust to support patients recovering from Covid-19, and continue training programmes for young people, whilst ensuring financial stability.

English National Opera offers completely free tickets to under 18 years, and throughout lockdown has continued to create innovative new work including the UK’s first drive-in opera – ENO Drive and Live’s La Boheme at Alexandra Palace. ENO also worked with partner schools across the country on the creative photography project I am Here, in which Year 7 students captured their self-portrait – these images are now used by ENO to fill seats left empty at the London Coliseum due to social distancing.

Historic Royal Palaces – £40,000,000 in repayable financing will help Historic Royal Palaces return to financial stability whilst conserving world renowned historic sites like the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace and presenting its nationally important collections to visitors.

Historic Royal Palaces cares for some of the best-known palaces in the world, including the Tower of London UNESCO World Heritage Site, home of the Crown Jewels and the UK’s most visited paid cultural site. Together, the palaces usually attract millions of visitors from around the world and host 250,000 school children every year, and are the venues for national commemoration and the performing arts.

Michael Harrison Entertainment – A loan of £4,500,000 will help Michael Harrison Entertainment meet existing financial commitments for programmed productions.

Michael Harrison’s West End musicals include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium, Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein at the Garrick, Annie at the Piccadilly, Mrs Henderson Presents at the Noel Coward, Gypsy at the Savoy and The Bodyguard at the Adelphi and Dominion Theatres.

London Theatre Company – £5,000,000 will help the London Theatre Company return to financial viability throughout the winter and stage full-scale productions from the spring.

The London Theatre Company was founded by Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr. The company built The Bridge, London’s first new large-scale commercial theatre for 50 years, opened in 2017 and has hosted leading names in British theatre including Ben Whishaw, Laura Linney, Jim Broadbent, Michelle Fairley, Simon Russell Beale, Ralph Fiennes and Maggie Smith.

Mark Goucher Productions Ltd – Mark Goucher Productions Ltd – A loan of £4,075,000 will restart productions across the West End and touring the UK when it is safe to do so, providing employment for freelance actors, artists, musicians and stage technicians, as well as creating work for suppliers like set and props builders, costume makers, sound, lighting and audio-visual hire companies and transport companies.

Mark Goucher Productions produces plays and musicals in the West End and on tour around the UK. Recent productions include The Man in the White Suit, Jeeves and Wooster and Yes, Prime Minister. The Culture Recovery Fund will allow Mark Goucher Productions to resume the tours of both musicals Hairspray and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It will also allow the company to restage Slava’s Snowshow and also stage a new production of Murder on the Orient Express.

Find out more about the Here For Culture Campaign and the Culture Recovery Fund.


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