Funding life-line for theatres in the east in first round of government support

103 venues across the East of England will get grants in the first round of funding Credit: ITV News Anglia

More than one hundred theatres, museums and cultural organisations across the East of England have been handed a life-line as the first round of grants are announced as part of the Government's £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft and The Cresset in Peterborough are among those to benefit from the funding boost.

The money is to help venues that are struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic and go towards making sure they have a sustainable future.


Venues across the East of England have been given grants


For funding across the East of England

Across the East Midlands which includes Northamptonshire, 96 venues will benefit with a total of £17,164,443 being handed out in funding.

Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota

The £257 million of investment has been announced today (12th October) nationally after applications were made for grants up to one million pounds.

It is part of the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme which is being administered by Arts Council England.

Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks. 


Cutural and creative organisations are getting financial help in the first round

The Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft Credit: The Seagull Theatre
  • Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft

The Seagull has been working hard to stay open and stay active during the pandemic. In July they launched a commissioning programme for freelance artists which resulted in a successful premiere evening last month.

Throughout September the Theatre had a special socially distanced season of shows every Friday alongside an online offering of live streamed concerts every Saturday.

The theatre generously 100% of the ticket sales from these events to the performers themselves.

We have been working hard since July to stay open in a safe way for our customers and this award means that we will be able to continue to do that as long as the virus allows. We have been overwhelmed with all the lovely comments from our customers who were so complimentary about the covid secure measures we. We were worried that people wouldn’t want to come, but in fact we have seen great demand.

Karen Read, Manager of The Seagull Theatre
  • The Cresset, Peterborough - £242,286

The Cresset has been staging live events in Peterborough for over 40 years with more than 60,000 people attending live events last year.

Since March over 100 performances and events have been cancelled or rescheduled.

While the venue has announced some socially distanced performances in recent weeks including a specially adapted pantomime, the reduced capacity has a huge financial impact.

It allows us to continue to run events, to retain our wonderful staff and to work with freelancers and suppliers in the area. We are committed to continuing to provide events and entertainment to our audiences in a safe and sustainable way and this is a real lifeline to ensure we can afford to do this and be here for the months and years to come.

Penny Hansen, Head of Commercial Activities at The Cresset

The music education charity Peterborough Sings has also benefited. It's been awarded a grant of £50,000 to help it continue its work running choirs and making outreach visits to schools.

  • Will Prideaux, Director of Peterborough Sings told ITV News Anglia that this funding will mean they can survive.

  • The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich has also received funding. Sue Lawther-Brown from the theatre says it gives them stability.

Some of the other successful venues/organisations include:

  • £57,377 for Next Generation Youth Theatre, Luton's largest theatre & dance provider for young people.

  • £79,176 for SINCRU, a Hip Hop collective based in Cambridge that works to cultivate access, skills development and community engagement within all aspects of the varying Hip Hop art forms.

  • £182,907 for Hippodrome Great Yarmouth, Britain’s only surviving circus building. Built in 1903, it is just one of three buildings in the world to still have and operate an original sinking ring water feature.

  • £180,000 for Caddies Comedy Club, a comedy venue in Southend-on-Sea that provides vital opportunities for people to train, workshop and perform comedy on stage.

  • £306,457 for Wyllotts Theatre (InspireAll), a community theatre owned by Hertsmere Borough Council that provides space for a wide range of cultural and community events.

  • £84,335 for the John Peel Centre, the only venue in the world dedicated to the legendary DJ John Peel and an important part of the cultural offer in Stowmarket.

More information can be found on the Arts Council website