More than 2,700 arts and heritage organisations, from Glastonbury festival to Bamburgh Castle to the Young Vic, are to share £400m in grants and loans from the UK government’s culture recovery fund.
The culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, announced details of the second big tranche of money from a £1.57bn fund, which was unveiled last July after warnings that the UK faced an irreversible “cultural catastrophe” without significant intervention.
The first round was about survival, whereas the second is skewed more towards reopening and recovery and includes £900,000 to Glastonbury, which was forced to cancel twice.
Michael and Emily Eavis, the festival’s organisers, 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.”
The Young Vic in London will receive £219,845. Kwame Kwei-Armah, the theatre’s artistic director, said the money would allow it to invest in its workforce including the freelance theatre community.
“We are so overjoyed to be in receipt of this grant, it means more than we can say,” he said. “It allows us to welcome people back into the building, and importantly, it allows us to invest in what tomorrow looks like.”
Nimax Theatres, which owns six West End venues including the Palace and the Apollo, will receive £898,784 from the second tranche to help it with deep cleaning, Covid-testing equipment and staff training.
Wise Children, a theatre company based in south-west England and created by Emma Rice, will receive £173,598. Rice said the money gave the company security, energy and hope.
“The pandemic has been a dark chapter for us all, but this news truly is the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “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.”
Historical sites benefiting from the fund include Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland (£137,00) and Ely Cathedral (£210,700). Charlestown Harbour in Cornwall, a filming location for Poldark, is getting £109,500 to help the site survive.
The government said 70% of funding was being distributed outside London.
The newly announced money includes £81m in loans, of which £7.3m is being offered to the Lowry centre in Salford, £4.25m to Sadler’s Wells in London and £3m to the Sage in Gateshead.
English Heritage will be loaned £23.4m to cover Covid-related losses and support essential maintenance. Its chief executive, Kate Mavor, said the money would help “steady the ship” and gave the charity the financial security it needed to become self-sufficient.
The announcement includes £6.5m distributed by the BFI to independent cinemas. For example, £138,333 will go to Britain’s oldest cinema in continuous use, the Phoenix in East Finchley in north London. Its patron Dame Judi Dench said local cinemas were a vital part of cultural life, “enthralling us with films about lives that we recognise as well as offering us stories about other cultures from around the world”.
She added: “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.”