Windfall for Birmingham Royal Ballet as Nutcracker returns

Birmingham Royal Ballet has benefitted from a share of more than £2.5 million as it prepares to return to the stage at the Royal Albert Hall.

The money, heading nationally to museums and galleries, theatres, music, dance, art centres and heritage organisations, has been donated by the Clore Duffield Foundation.

Recipients who will receive a portion of the £2,551,371 include Birmingham Royal Ballet, which is based at the city’s Hippodrome but has carried out work with community groups since lockdown stopped live performances. The V&A, Bristol Old Vic and the Royal Academy of Arts has also received money as well as the Leach Pottery, Manchester Art Gallery, National Gallery of Scotland, National Museum Wales and the Roundhouse.

Lockdown activities have included work with homeless groups, Parkinson’s sufferers, creating online lessons on Shakespeare and delivering clay-making packs to vulnerable children.

Dancers during a photocall for the Birmingham Royal Ballet's production of The Nutcracker at the Birmingham Royal Ballet. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday November 24, 2017. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire.

Philanthropist Dame Vivien Duffield’s foundation previously funded the creation of over 60 Clore Learning Spaces around Britain, but not their running costs. She said of the spaces: “We realised that none of the learning spaces except one had reopened, and unfortunately to this day, most remain closed. This donation is to help the institutions take the necessary precautions, and where possible start their learning programmes in person. It is of course also to help retain and support the learning teams which are in danger of being dispersed.”

Birmingham Royal Ballet has revealed it will be staging a production of The Nutcracker at the Royal Albert Hall for Christmas. It is part of efforts to put on Covid-secure performances at venues in the capital, including the Royal Opera House.

The Royal Albert Hall will open its doors to reduced audiences for shows over Christmas in what the venue’s chief executive describes as an “investment into our future.” A total of 36,000 tickets will be sold to audience goers, down from more than 120,000 last year, to shows including The Nutcracker and Handel’s Messiah.

Birmingham Royal Ballet's Swan Lake at Birmingham Hippodrome

Al though opening to such capacities is “financially unviable,” Hall boss Craig Halsall said “this is what the country needs” and that it will “protect the jobs of our highly skilled staff, stimulate the local economy and fulfil significant audience demand.”

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