Liverpool’s Cavern Club and the Young Vic in London among arts venues given a share of £257m lifeline

‘Transformative’ cash boost for theatres amid Covid-19 crisis

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Some of England’s most famous arts venues have been given a financial lifeline after nearly 1,400 theatres, museums and organisations were told they would receive a share of £257m ($334.50m) from the British government.

The Cavern Club in Liverpool, where The Beatles played some of their first shows, has been given £525,000 ($683,313), Bristol's Old Vic Theatre received £610,466 and London's Young Vic theatre was given £961,455.

It is part of a wider government Culture Recovery Fund worth £1.57 billion to prop up an industry that has been devastated by closures due to Covid-19 and the UK's lockdown.

It is estimated the arts industry is worth more than £10bn a year to the UK economy.

The largest chunk of government grants for the industry so far, the money has gone to venues and organisations that applied for less than £1m. There will be further funds released for those who applied for up to £3m in the near future.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the tranche would protect jobs, help shows return to the stage and create work for freelancers, who make up a large proportion of the industry.

"This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation," Dowden said in a statement.

"It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector's recovery."

He told Sky News that he hoped those struggling in the industry would "hang in" for as long as they could.

Bristol Old Vic's artistic director Tom Morris said the grant would be “transformative”.

“Immediately, it keeps us open and prevents another devastating round of redundancies,” he said.

“Beyond that, it gives us a solid platform from which we can contribute to the economic and social recovery which must follow the pandemic over the next two years."

Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, said further funding would be announced later in the month.

"Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages," he said.

"This is a difficult time for us all, but this first round of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund will help sustain hundreds of cultural spaces and organisations that are loved and admired by local communities and international audiences."