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Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds celebrates £245,000 Culture Recovery Fund confirmation




Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds will receive a £245,000 share of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, it was announced this afternoon.

The fund was administered by Arts Council England with the stated aim of ‘maintaining England’s cultural ecology by supporting organisations which were financially sustainable before Covid-19, but were at imminent risk of failure and have exhausted all other options for increasing their resilience'.

Owen Calvert-Lyons, chief executive and artistic director, said: "This money, alongside that raised in our The Show Will Go On! appeal during the summer, is an absolute lifeline.

The Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds. (42652479)
The Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds. (42652479)

"The grant will cover the significant costs of making our building Covid-secure and go some way towards replacing the extraordinary amount of income we have lost during our closure.

"Most importantly, this money will enable us to get our beautiful theatre back on its feet and ensure we are able to reopen in spring 2021."

The Arts Council expects the grants to allow organisations to fully or partially reopen by March 31.

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Westgate Street, Bury St Edmunds.Owen Calvert-Lyons is the new artistic director/CEO of Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley. (42652502)
Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Westgate Street, Bury St Edmunds.Owen Calvert-Lyons is the new artistic director/CEO of Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley. (42652502)

The theatre believes its application was successful due to:

  • Its cultural significance, being a 200 year-old theatre and the only working Regency playhouse in the UK
  • Its community engagement projects, which aim to impact the lives of hard-to-reach, marginalised, victimised and socially-isolated people through art and culture
  • Its work with young people, giving them an opportunity to engage with theatre and the arts which could otherwise be inaccessible to them
Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds was illuminated red to highlight the financial crisis facing the performing arts industry. Picture by Paul Derrick (42652487)
Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds was illuminated red to highlight the financial crisis facing the performing arts industry. Picture by Paul Derrick (42652487)
  • The ability to provide employment via its own in-house productions for a network of freelance artists, writers, producers, set designers, technicians and actors

The Theatre Royal is unlikely to welcome audiences back through its doors before next spring.

Owen said: "We estimate we have lost £800,000 in net income in this financial year to end of March 2021, compared to last year. While this fund ensures our survival it is not without some sacrifice, but this Culture Recovery Fund money will allow us to continue to create and share culture with local and national audiences."

This week, the theatre will announce a fund-raising event at St Edmundsbury Cathedral on November 1 – An Evening with Vanessa Redgrave CBE and Terry Waite CBE will go on sale in the new few days.

- The Apex, in Bury, and West Stow Anglo Saxon Village, are also to receive Culture Recovery Fund grants.

The Apex, which has been unable to stage performances due to the need for social distancing, is to receive £250,000 as a contribution towards its loss of income, while West Stow will receive £246,500 to help cover its loss of income and recovery.

Cllr John Griffiths, West Suffolk Council leader, said: “Both The Apex and West Stow are very popular cultural venues that have been hit hard by the impact of Covid-19. We are very grateful the Government and Arts Council England have listened and recognised this through today’s funding announcement.

"In the meantime, we are doing our best to welcome people to limited and safe events, such as our very successful Gaia exhibition, at The Apex."

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