Plymouth's Theatre Royal saved until next April by Government's £1.9m bailout

100 people were laid off in June as a result of the pandemic.

Plymouth's Theatre Royal has been awarded nearly two million pounds in emergency funding to help it face the continuing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The money, totalling almost £1.9 million, is the latest tranche of the Government's £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund that will help organisations across the West Country.

For Theatre Royal Plymouth the money is a "lifeline", said its CEO Adrian Vinken, and means they will not have to cut any more jobs.

Its doors have been closed for more than six months, for the first time in its 37-year history, and more than 90% of its income was lost overnight at the start of lockdown in March.

We’re relieved to announce that our application to the government’s Culture Recovery Fund was successful and we have been awarded a £1,896,000 lifeline. This funding will enable us to continue to deliver our life-changing projects and support our local communities and theatre-makers.

Adrian Vinken, CEO, Theatre Royal Plymouth
More than 300,000 people fill the theatre every year.

In June the theatre announced that 100 jobs were at risk because of the strain of the pandemic.

Speaking to ITV West Country after this latest funding announcement, Mr Vinken said:

"It means survival and viability through till next April. The issue was, if we didn't get this funding right now - and this is a critical time now - we would have to consider implementing further contraction measures.

"Earlier this year we were forced to lay off 100 of our staff, people who have been working for us for up to 30 years, very loyal, committed staff who have done nothing but a great job - but the total loss of 90% of our income gave us no option."

The theatre's CEO said the funding will also help them develop a programme of socially-distanced performances over Christmas, which he is hoping will be announced soon.

It will equally allow the theatre to prepare for a full re-opening when coronavirus restrictions allow.

We are still in contracted survival mode. We have to see that point on the horizon when we can safely reopen without social distancing and that audiences can feel confident to come back in the huge numbers they are used to.

Adrian Vinken

Theatre Royal Plymouth, which attracts more than 300,000 people a year, is one of 35 major organisations receiving these larger grants through the Culture Recovery Fund.

It follows £334 million already awarded to other arts groups in the region who have been struggling as a result of the crisis.