Venues including Manchester’s Royal Exchange, the Lighthouse in Poole and Theatre Royal Plymouth have praised emergency funding from Arts Council England as an "absolute lifeline" that will help them to survive the summer.
The Arts Council announced the £33 million investment yesterday (July 7, 2020). It has been allocated to provide "critical relief" to 196 national portfolio organisations that faced financial disaster before September.
Organisations including the Royal Exchange and Theatre Royal Plymouth had already announced redundancies due to the financial impact of Covid-19.
Sadler’s Wells in London was awarded the biggest grant, of £1.5 million.
Alistair Spalding, its artistic director and chief executive, said: "We welcome with relief the Emergency Response Fund grant awarded to us by Arts Council England.
"This support recognises the financial peril Sadler’s Wells and other organisations in our sector are experiencing as a result of coronavirus lockdowns. These funds will help to keep us afloat until the end of September.
"Coupled with the UK government’s rescue package for the arts sector announced earlier this week, it gives us some assurance to begin planning for the future."
Spalding added: "However, uncertainty remains, as we do not yet know when we can safely reopen, which is critical for our ability to generate income and to ensure the support packages can be as impactful as possible for a full return of Sadler’s Wells and the sector."
Theatre Royal Plymouth, which was awarded £806,000, "warmly welcomed" the emergency grant.
It has already announced that redundancy consultations have begun for more than 100 of its staff as a result of its financial situation.
Chief executive Adrian Vinken said: "We would like to thank all those who have so passionately and visibly supported the sector and TRP over recent weeks on the streets, on social networks, in the media and in writing.
"It’s been heartening to hear and see first-hand the impact of the work we do and how close people hold arts, culture and TRP to their hearts. We look forward to understanding the details of the government’s support package announced this week and how it will be invested across the sector, including to freelancers on whom the whole creative industries sector relies."
Vinken also said that a timetable for the reopening of theatres would be "crucial" to allowing the venue to plan for its longer-term future. The government is said to be finalising guidance around potential dates for reopening theatres.
Lighthouse theatre in Poole, which was awarded £255,000, described the grant as an "absolute lifeline".
Chief executive Elspeth McBain said: "This money will support Lighthouse until the autumn, by which time we hope to be able to partially reopen our wonderful building.
“We are planning new ways of operating so that we can use our spaces creatively until the time that we can welcome back the audiences we have missed so much during this time. It won’t be business as usual, but we can now see a positive future."
McBain added: "After an increasingly bleak few weeks, this is the best news we could have hoped for and we are utterly relieved that Lighthouse now has every chance of continuing to provide our community with the arts and entertainment and community engagement work that our town and region needs and absolutely should have."
Brighton Dome chief executive Andrew Comben said: "We are enormously grateful to Arts Council England for this support, which offers immediate financial security while our venue remains closed over the next few months.
"Our team is committed to ensuring the survival of this much-loved venue, as well as continuing our work with artists, local communities, children and young people.
"The impacts of this crisis are set to continue beyond September and we welcome further government guidance on a longer-term strategy for live venues and events and how arts organisations will receive further support through their £1.57 billion fund."
Manchester’s Royal Exchange, which received £571,000, and Northern Ballet, which was awarded £500,000, both tweeted that they welcomed the support.
Northern Ballet said: "Thank you to @ace_national for the hugely welcome and needed support from the Emergency Fund, which will help us through these difficult times when there has been no income from touring and cash flow has become a major challenge for the organisation."
The Royal Exchange tweeted: "Huge thanks to @ace_national for the welcome news that we are a recipient of their Emergency Response Fund. This will support our financial viability through the summer to the end of September."