The first £250 million provided to over 1300 arts organisations

Updated on 20 October 2020

The DCMS has revealed the first organisations being awarded grants as part of the £1.57bn arts stimulus package announced months ago.

The first UK performing arts venues receive financial aid from the government

It was revealed earlier this year that the £1.57bn package would provide a 'vital boost' for a number of performance venues and companies all across the UK cultural sector. More than 1300 applicants received funds so far in values of up to £1m with even larger loans expected to be distributed in the coming weeks.

Among performing arts venues that received funds include the Young Vic in London (£960,000), Bristol Old Vic (£610,000), Curve Leicester (£950,000), Finborough Theatre in Earl's Court (receiving just shy of £60,000), Storyhouse Chester (£730,000) the Northcott Theatre in Exeter (over £180,000), Lighthouse Poole (£987,000) Hackney Empire (£585,000), Theatre By The Lake, Keswick (£878,000), Theatre Peckham (£150,000), and the Birmingham Royal Ballet (£500,000).

What Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden had to say about the distribution of funds

UK Secretary of Culture Oliver Dowden stated: "These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country - from the Beamish museum in County Durham to the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Bristol Old Vic.

"This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly."

What's next for the £1.57bn culture relief package?

Additional loans and grants are expected to be unveiled soon. It is currently unknown what percentage of applicants were rejected. The Arts Council is set to distribute funds after a one-week delay.

Tom Morris, Artistic Director for the Bristol Old Vic, stated: "This is fantastic news for many arts organisations all over the country. For Bristol Old Vic it is transformative. Immediately, it keeps us open and prevents another devastating round of redundancies. Beyond that, it gives us a solid platform from which we can contribute to the economic and social recovery which must follow the pandemic over the next two years."

The Fatima "Rethink. Reskill. Reboot" controversy

The announcement of funds finally being distributed to the struggling performing arts community comes after a controversial ad campaign from 2019 recently resurfaced with a picture of a ballerina and the words: "Fatima's next job could be in cyber. (she just doesn't know it yet) Rethink. Reskill. Reboot."

Though Oliver Dowden admitted the image was "crass", it couldn't have come at a more sensitive time. Earlier this month, Rishi Sunak came under fire for suggesting musicians, actors, and artists should get another job. Though the chancellor claims to be working to ensure that "viable" jobs are protected, inaction speaks louder than words.

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Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.