Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, an Edwardian arts venue in Birmingham, has received a grant of £34,400 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen. More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including the charitable trust-run Town Hall in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced.
The venue, which is currently being used as a vaccination centre for the NHS, will now be able to recommence planning of its 2021/22 shows and room hire. The staging of ‘Cinderella’ had been in jeopardy with not enough reserves to support the production of the show, which is key to the venue’s financial sustainability.
As a result of the grant, the Trust can return more staff to work, enabling the venue to market its autumn programme, which starts in September with the sell-out Gary Powndland comedy show. Over £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced. Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors - helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead."
The Town Hall’s Managing Director, Julie Rennison, said: “This funding is crucial to our recovery, as it takes months behind the scenes to plan and market our programme – particularly the pantomime. With this support, and with confidence in a return to full houses once vaccinations are complete, we have a much better chance of a successful relaunch in the autumn and a welcome return of our traditional Christmas shows.”
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work. We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”
The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.