Shropshire arts organisations get funding lifeline

Shropshire's theatres and arts groups have been given lifelines totalling almost £600,000 from the Government's £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund today.

Theatre on the Steps artistic director Iain Reddihough
Theatre on the Steps artistic director Iain Reddihough

The investment will help save six theatres, galleries, performance groups, arts organisations, museums and local venues facing the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, to ensure they have a sustainable future and continue to bring joy to local communities and international audiences.

Organisations supported in Shropshire include Bridgnorth's Theatre on the Steps, Shrewsbury Food Festival, Shropshire Festivals and The Arts Centre Telford.

This is the second phase of grants and further funding will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Arts Council England said a further 588 cultural and creative organisations are to receive a share of £76 million including £580,922 for Shropshire. It follows £257 million awarded to 1385 organisations on Monday.

Theatre on the Steps artistic director Iain Reddihough said its £100,000 grant was not as much as the theatre had applied for but said it was extremely welcome.

"It will mean that we can keep paying our three full time staff, make our theatre 'covid secure' and also plan for future shows that will have to be staged with reduced numbers of people in the audience."

Lifeline

"We have had no money coming in for eight months yet the theatre costs £8,000 a month without doing anything. We hope this now means we can look a staging live shows early in the new year, at least by February."

Beth Heath from Shropshire Festivals which will receive £100,000 said: "The grant will enable us to continue to put on events into 2021 as we have been hit super hard by no events through the 2020 season.

"We have rising debts and this lifeline will help us to keep bringing great experiences to the people of Shropshire and beyond and stop this festival ship from sinking. We want to be back out supporting the local producers, communities and charities we work alongside."

Telford based Sundissential is an international dance music event brand that will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.

John Nolan from the event management team said its funding of £223,000 would not only allow it to survive it would allow it to start planning a 25th anniversary socially distanced tour of Britain and possibly abroad - including an event in Telford.

"Telford was a big centre of dance music in the 80s with the Pandemonium events starting at the ice ring. Sundissential has been the launch platform for names like Pete Tong and Judge Jules, it still provides a stage for up and coming DJs and other art culture such as graffiti art, spoken word and visual arts."

Other grants include £55,000 for Shrewsbury Food Festival and £52,100 for The Arts Centre, Telford.

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