Arts to receive £1.5bn as full reopening remains ‘some way off’

Monday, July 6, 2020

The UK’s struggling arts industry will receive a £1.5 billion support package to “weather the storm” of coronavirus closures.

Speaking with talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden admitted that the possibility of reopening theatres without social distancing in place remains “some way off”.

“I think we will be able to get, quite soon, get to a point where you can have outdoor performances and indeed socially distant performances…but getting to that full restoration, particularly in these crowded Victorian theatres with challenges on airflow, is quite a way off,” he said.

The bailout, made up of emergency grants and loans, will be available to museums, galleries and theatres, as well as independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues.

Mr Dowden told talkRADIO that the support will help venues up and down the country and cover all cultural sectors.

“If you're in a part of England where you’ve only got a gallery or a theatre and you lost that, it would have a huge impact on your access to culture”.

The package comes after the pandemic caused some theatres to close down and make staff redundant, while museums have also said they face an uncertain future.

Meanwhile, 1,500 artists and acts have signed a letter to Mr Dowden calling for a road map for the live music industry.

Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts sectors is expected to be published by the government shortly.

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