Saturday, 17 October 2020 00:00

Westacre Theatre receives lifeline grant

Written by  The All Things Norfolk Team
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Westacre Theatre receives lifeline grant

Westacre Theatre has been awarded £156,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Westacre Theatre  is one of 588 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support – with £76 million of investment announced today. This follows £257 million awarded earlier in the week to 1,385 organisations, also from the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks

Westacre Theatre, situated in the heart of rural West Norfolk, was due to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2020 but many planned celebratory events had to be cancelled when theatres were forced to close last March. A limited number of open-air events were staged during the summer but it is not expected theatres in general will be able to operate as normal (without social distancing) until April at the earliest 

The ACE grant will enable the theatre to spend the next six months preparing a significant package of events and productions ready for the theatre’s re-launch as soon as Covid 19 restrictions are lifted. The grant covers the cost of improvements to the theatre’s open-air facilities together with start up costs for two new staffing appointments to assist with the theatre’s future event development.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations. These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Culture is an essential part of life across the country, helping to support people’s wellbeing through creativity and self-expression, bringing communities together, and fuelling our world class creative industries. 

“This latest set of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund builds on those announced recently and will help hundreds of organisations to survive the next few months, ensuring that the cultural sector can bounce back after the crisis.  We will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations, with further funding to be announced in the coming weeks.”

Matt Grist, the chairman of the theatre’s management board said: "This is fantastic news and a huge credit to all the work West Acre has done historically and a wonderful endorsement of our future plans. Needless to say it is also a massive boost to our efforts to survive these turbulent times and carve a sustainable and exciting future"

Last modified on Saturday, 17 October 2020 11:50

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    Keen to bring as much good cheer as possible to everyone, your local community Theatre reached out to two dozen talented alumni from its long-running Bursary Scheme.  In suitably festive mood, they will put on their own very individual performances which you can view each day for free from the comfort of your own home. 

    "We are desperately disappointed at not meeting with our audiences in person this year" explained director Sadie Grist, "but our Bursary students are stepping forward and their stories, songs and poems are enabling us to reconnect with our friends and supporters old and new all through December"

    Graduating successfully into back-stage, on-stage and technical careers with top flight companies and venues across then UK, these students joined residencies that have run since 2005 thanks to welcome financial support from both the County Council and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk over several years.  Many of the Theatre’s followers have also shown great generosity and without them the Scheme simply could not continue.

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