Government lends £ 36million to SE1 arts venues [14 December 2020]


The government will loan nearly £ 36million to three of SE1’s largest performance and music venues to help them weather the COVID-19 crisis.

Of the £ 165million in Culture Recovery Fund loans announced by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden last week, nearly £ 36million is to be shared by the National Theater (£ 19.7million), the Southbank Center (£ 10.9million) and the Bridge Theater (£ 5million).

The National Theater reopens with a pantomime for a socially distant audience as well as the filming of a new version of Romeo and Juliet for television starring Jessie Buckley and Josh O’Connor. Last week Mr Dowden visited to see his final preparations for Dick Whittington, which will be available to families to stream online for free over Christmas.

Lisa Burger, Executive Director and Deputy CEO of the National Theater, said of the loan: “It is a vital lifeline that will be part of our recovery, helping to ensure that the National Theater will be here for culture and here. for the nation, now and in the future.

“While the challenges of this pandemic are not over, we can now begin to rebuild the NT with a renewed commitment to making theater for everyone that celebrates the diversity of our nation.”

Elaine Bedell, Managing Director of the Southbank Center, said: “We have lost £ 25million from our income this year and this loan will help us stabilize our finances as we prepare to reopen all of our sites safely in the spring. next.

“We still have challenges – but we can meet them now with creative optimism and we look forward to rebuilding our ambitious artistic program.

“We are keenly aware that this loan is taxpayers’ money and we need to be sure that we are delivering value back to all the communities we serve, in London and across the UK.

“We look forward to reopening our doors and once again welcoming our audience and our missed visitors.”

Nicholas Hynter, co-founder of the London Theater Company and the Bridge Theater, said: “Grants already this fall from the Culture Recovery Fund have been a vital intervention in the crisis in the performing arts.

“The CRF Repayable Finance Scheme announcement is another vital injection of liquidity in an industry hardest hit by Covid, and we are very grateful to be included among these loans.

“We are determined to do all we can to generate jobs for the freelance community and joy for the public.

“People will need the stimulation of performing arts more and more and we are determined to make our contribution as vigorously as possible. “


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