Press release

£400 million to help more than 2,700 arts, culture, heritage organisations and independent cinemas survive and thrive

Details of more than 2,700 organisations being offered nearly £400 million in grants and loans to help the culture and heritage sector reopen and recover has been announced

Oliver Dowden on stage at Wolverhampton Grand
  • From Glastonbury Festival, the National Football Museum and Bamburgh Castle to a cinema in a 14th century barn, more than £300 million in grants will set more than 2,700 organisations up for a summer of reopening and recovery
  • £81 million offered in tailor-made loans for cultural landmarks
  • Funding welcomed by Dame Judi Dench, Dame Julie Walters, Hugh Bonneville, Stephen Fry and Romesh Ranganathan

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced details of over 2,700 organisations being offered nearly £400 million in grants and loans to help the culture and heritage sector reopen and recover.

This brings the Government’s total investment across grants, capital and repayable finance from the Culture Recovery Fund so far to more than £1.2 billion across over 5,000 individual cultural and heritage organisations and sites.

The funding was reserved in the first round of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to allow the Government to respond to the changing public health picture. With more than 70% of funding going outside of London, it will help organisations across the country as they welcome back visitors and return to normal operating models in the months ahead.

Over £170 million in repayable finance has been offered to organisations including the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company. A further £81 million in new loans are being announced for 23 nationally and internationally significant organisations receiving support in excess of £1 million, including English Heritage Trust, The Lowry and Sage Gateshead.

The English Heritage Trust, which cares for 420 historic monuments, buildings, objects and places, will receive £23.4 million to cover Covid-related losses and support investment in essential maintenance. The Lowry Centre Trust, the world class Salford-based arts centre, will receive £7.3 million, which will help the organisation to continue its community outreach programming and ensure that the LS Lowry collection is appropriately cared for. The North Music Trust, which operates the flagship music performance and artistic development Sage Gateshead, will receive £3 million to support operational costs ahead of reopening and help the organisation to continue its valuable work including integrating its digital and in-person offerings.

The first round of grants and repayable finance totalling more than £800 million were allocated to ensure the immediate survival of 3,800 cultural organisations and heritage sites across the country. This second tranche of funding builds on the lifeline grants already awarded to support museums, theatres, performance venues, historic sites and cinemas as they reopen to audiences and visitors throughout the spring and summer.

Glastonbury Festival will receive £900,000 to help the festival continue in 2021, with two smaller events this year, as well as to carry the festival through to 2022.

A further £6.5 million has been awarded by the British Film Institute to independent cinemas including £138,333 for the East Finchley’s Phoenix Cinema, Britain’s oldest cinema in continuous use where Dame Judi Dench is a patron, and £45,640 awarded for the Barn Cinema in Dartington, based in a 14th century barn. This brings the number of cinemas supported by the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas to 209.

Grants worth almost £60 million have been awarded to help theatres plan for reopening in every corner of the country from the West End’s Criterion Theatre to the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. The Criterion is receiving £164,501, taking its total support from the Culture Recovery Fund to £493,504.

Nimax Theatres, which operates six sites in the West End including the Palace Theatre, the Lyric and the Apollo Theatre, will receive £898,784 from the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund. This funding will support the theatres’ preparations to re-open to audiences, such as deep cleaning, Covid-testing equipment and training for staff.

Earlier this week, the Culture Secretary visited the Wolverhampton Grand which has been awarded £568,357 to restart socially distanced events when it is safe to do so.

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.

Dame Judi Dench, Oscar® award-winning actor (Shakespeare in Love, Philomena, Mrs Brown, Skyfall), a patron of the Phoenix East Finchley and the Theatre by the Lake which hosts the Keswick Film Festival and a BFI Fellow said:

Local cinemas are a vital part of our cultural lives, enthralling us with films about lives that we recognise as well as offering us stories about other cultures from around the world. They are places where people come together for a shared experience and have inspired many to make their careers on screen. We need to make sure that generations today and in the future have the same opportunities to enjoy and take part in the communal big screen experience.

Stephen Fry, Chair, Criterion Theatre Trust, said:

The Criterion Theatre Trust is just delighted to have received CRF second round grant funding in support of our plans to re-open in May 2021. Offering live theatre to a socially distanced audience presents a financial challenge, but the support extended through the Culture Recovery Fund is a boost that allows us to re-open in a Covid-safe way. The Trust will be able to continue its work and, when that glorious and happy time comes, to welcome audiences back to our beautiful theatre, to enjoy once again the irreplaceable and unforgettable experience of live theatre.

Dame Julie Walters, Patron of The Pied Piper Theatre Company, said:

As Patron of The Pied Piper Theatre Company, I’m delighted to hear that the company are being supported by the Arts Council’s Culture Recovery Fund. It’s tremendous that the value of their plays for audiences of young children are recognised.

Hugh Bonneville, supporter of Chichester Festival Theatre, said:

Underlying the UK’s international Film & TV success is the best of British Theatre. So I am particularly delighted that Chichester Festival Theatre, my local theatre, is being supported so generously by the Culture Recovery Fund. The grant will enable it to reopen its doors with confidence, renew the relationship with its audience and take its place once again at the heart of its vibrant community.

Romesh Ranganathan, comedian, said of Komedia’s award:

I’m absolutely delighted Komedia has got this funding. It means that it can continue to be the hub for both established comedy as well as nurturing new talent. This is great news for the area.

Jade Thirlwall Customs House Fellow and Little Mix star said:

The Customs House has a special place in my heart so I’m really delighted this grant will help secure its future. It’s so important for South Tyneside and it’s wonderful to see our arts centres being able to work towards opening again.

Michael & Emily Eavis, Glastonbury Festivals, said:

We’re extremely grateful to be offered a significant award from the Culture Recovery Fund. After losing millions from the cancellation of our last two Festivals, this grant will make a huge difference in helping to secure our future.

Zoë Wanamaker, Patron of British Youth Music Theatre, said:

Fantastic news. BYMT has been awarded a grant in the second round of Arts Council England’s Culture Recovery Fund.

This grant will help to underpin our Summer Season; enable the commissioning and creation of new work – 10 productions taking place around England this summer, including Halifax, Ipswich, Plymouth and London.

Thank you to Arts Council England and the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport).

Museums across the country have also benefited from more than £25 million in this latest round of funding. The London Transport Museum which received £1,750,000 in the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund will get another £875,000 to help the museum reopen to the public in a Covid secure manner. Thanks to government support, the museum will also be opening new exhibitions and community projects including hosting virtual sessions for schools and new virtual reality ways to enjoy exhibitions.

The National Football Museum in Manchester will receive £239,721, building on the £515,965 it received from the first round. The museum holds the largest public collection of football objects in the world and works with sports museums worldwide and provides guidance on collections and exhibitions. The additional funding will be used to support the museum to reopen to the public through the summer.

Comedy clubs, music venues and multi-purpose stages continue to be supported in the latest round of funding awarded by Arts Council England. Award-winning Brighton venue Komedia, which usually programmed over 700 events a year to provide a platform for performers launching their careers, will receive £123,500 to resume socially distanced music, comedy and theatre performances. £213,853 will support the leading independent grassroots venue the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds to restart live events. Iconic venues like the Camden Roundhouse are also being supported with awards of £1,500,000 to welcome back audiences to live events.

Awards have been made to benefit the widest possible range of art forms and organisations including circuses, like Cirque Bijou and Gorilla Circus, and touring groups which bring high-quality productions to people everywhere. Wise Children, the South West Theatre Company created and led by award-winning director Emma Rice, will receive £173,598 to return to rehearsals and restart their unique professional training programmes after pivoting to streaming performances online and podcasting during the pandemic.

These awards are also supporting vital supply chain organisations for live performances, like Lamp and Pencil who have received £120,307. The Hertfordshire-based production company installs, builds and maintains technical infrastructure for productions. This includes the LED displays for the West End hit musical Six and wands used in Harry Potter.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England have allocated £44 million to over 470 heritage organisations. This builds on more than £146 million awarded to the sector in the first round of awards, which included funding for revenue and capital works. Historic sites like Bamburgh Castle and Ely Cathedral, that typically attract tourists to the local areas, are also supported by this latest funding, receiving £137,400 and £210,700 respectively to help teams at these centuries-old buildings prepare for the return of modern visitors. Charlestown Harbour, a UNESCO World Heritage site and filming location for popular TV dramas and films such as Poldark and Ammonite, has been awarded £109,500 to help the site survive.

Nearly all of the original £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund has now been allocated, with over £1.2 billion in grants and repayable finance offered to more than 5,000 individual organisations and sites, and further grants to be finalised over the coming weeks. £188 million has been given to the devolved administrations through the Barnett formula, with Northern Ireland receiving £33 million, Scotland £97 million and Wales £59 million. £100 million has been given to national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust.

At last month’s Budget, the Chancellor announced a £300 million boost for the Culture Recovery Fund, as part of a wider £408 million package for arts and culture taking direct government investment in the sector since the start of the pandemic stands at almost £2 billion. Further details on the third round of the Culture Recovery Fund will be available in due course.


Additional quotes:

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.

Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive said:

People have been missing the big screen experience and we know they are looking forward to cinemas being able to reopen from 17 May onwards. The Culture Recovery Fund has been a lifeline to survival for local independent cinemas up and down the country, ensuring that they will be able to welcome their audiences back. In bringing the latest films from blockbusters to British films and new discoveries from around the world as well as screen classics, the local ‘cinema paradiso’ is often the only form of culture and entertainment in their area and are vital to their communities. We need them back and thanks to the fund screens will soon light up once more.

Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

Spring is definitely here, bringing not only sunshine but that sense of optimism and hope for the future. We are all looking forward to heritage places and other visitor attractions reopening and I am very pleased that we have been able to support DCMS in delivering this vital funding to ensure the UK’s heritage sector can rebuild and thrive, boosting local economies, creating jobs and supporting personal wellbeing.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said:

The value of our heritage sites and the people who run them has been amply demonstrated, as they have provided an anchor for so many of us through the dark days of the last year. Vital grants from the Culture Recovery Fund have helped them survive and will now help them recover, as the places we all cherish start to reopen in the months ahead.

Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of the Young Vic, said:

We are so overjoyed to be in receipt of this grant - it means more than we can say. It allows us to welcome people back into the building, and importantly, it allows us to invest in what tomorrow looks like. With it, we can invest in our current and future workforce, including in our freelance theatre community, and also innovate, and for that we are profoundly grateful.

Paul Greengrass, BAFTA award winning and Oscar® nominated director (Jason Bourne, Captain Phillips, United 93, Bloody Sunday) and a BFI Fellow said:

Going to the local cinema was a vital part of my life when I was growing up. It embedded a passion for movies within me that has sustained me through my whole life; later, having the opportunity to experience films from around the world was a priceless gift, giving me insight into other cultures, other experiences, and reminding me that the greatest gift cinema can bestow is to remind us of our common humanity. Independent cinemas have always been dedicated to their audiences and the art of film, but they do so much more - providing a focus for their communities and enabling a range of activities by other organisations and charities. Thankfully this funding will enable more of them to survive, reopen, and welcome us back.

Adrian Jackson - Chief Executive & Artistic Director Wolverhampton Grand Theatre said:

The wonderful news we have received today has generated an incredible air of excitement within Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Our theatre is an immense cultural pillar for Wolverhampton and the Black Country and has stood proudly on this site since opening its doors on 10 December 1894. Many great artistes have learnt their craft here throughout the decades, and thanks to the grant from the Culture Recovery Fund, the future of the theatre is now firmly safeguarded and secured. The Grand is an anchor for creativity which provides cultural enrichment for our community and a platform for many established and growing performers, technicians and theatre professionals. We are now able to begin the process of reopening the theatre and we look forward to welcoming our audience back in the coming months when the Grand Theatre’s heart will once again beat loudly in Wolverhampton and beyond.

Larissa Joy OBE, Chair, The Foundling Museum said:

The Foundling Museum is thrilled to receive this very welcome Culture Recovery Fund grant, and it could not have come at a better time. Not only does this help us keep the engine of the Museum running, and ensure we can continue to support artists, but it means that we can continue to do the vital work we do with care leavers and early years children from the local Camden community, with all the challenges they are facing at the moment.

Kate Mavor, English Heritage’s Chief Executive, said:

This loan will play an important role in steadying the English Heritage ship, giving the charity the financial security we require to become self-sufficient. We applied for it because we felt it was the best way for the charity to thrive and to invest in the sites in our care. This finance package will support vital conservation at our prehistoric monuments, castles, abbeys, and historic houses and we are grateful to the Government for its confidence in us. First and foremost though, we depend on the public for support and we really appreciate the huge amount of goodwill they’ve shown the charity throughout the pandemic, particularly our members.

Emma Rice, Artistic Director, Wise Children, said:

We are so grateful for the support Wise Children has received through the Culture Recovery Fund, and want to express our heartfelt thanks to the Chancellor, the Culture Secretary, HM Treasury, the DCMS and Arts Council England.

The pandemic has been a dark chapter for us all, but this news truly is the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve spent the past months asking ourselves how we might get back to making work and how we will deal with the uncertainties and risks that lie ahead. This backing is just what we needed to start answering these vital questions. The Culture Recovery Fund gives us a shot of security, energy and hope which will help us get back to doing what we do best – making beautiful, life-affirming and joyful shows. It’s not going to be easy but this strategic and welcome support will help us emerge from the pandemic stronger, healthier and more creatively resilient.

Cerys Matthews, BBC Radio 6 Music presenter and host of this year’s digital Cheltenham Jazz Festival, said:

Such great news that Cheltenham Festivals have received some funds from the Culture Recovery Fund. Here’s to more cultural feasts for everyone - right in the heart of town.

Cheltenham Festivals Leadership Team said:

This second grant from the Culture Recovery Fund will ensure that Cheltenham Festivals can continue to create cultural experiences which bring joy, deepen curiosity, connect communities and inspire change. Without this crucial support from DCMS, Cheltenham Festivals would have struggled to survive the impact of the pandemic due to the loss of live events and box office receipts. Instead we were able to pivot all of our work in 2020 to digital, culminating in an award-winning hybrid Literature Festival in October which reached our largest ever audience. In 2021 we are now in a strong position to deliver a full programme of Festivals and outreach work and build on Cheltenham Festivals’ digital transformation.

Thank you to Oliver Dowden CBE, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to DMCS and to the Arts Council England for this incredible investment and confidence in Cheltenham Festivals and culture in the South West.

Full list of CRF 2 recipients

Published 2 April 2021