Burnham-On-Sea’s Princess Theatre and Arts Centre has been awarded a huge £66,702 lifeline funding from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help it face the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The theatre in Princess Street has been shut since March due to the pandemic and it is not scheduled to open before January at the earliest, as we reported here, which has halted its income.
Today’s announcement sees the theatre among 588 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving support, thanks to £76 million of nationwide investment.
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.
Welcoming the news, Burnham and Highbridge Mayor Cllr Mike Facey told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “The Arts Council has shown The Princess a huge commitment with this grant. It proves that what The Princess does and what it has proposed to do for the future fits firmly with Arts Council aims and objectives. This power house within the arts believes in the Princess Theatre and Arts Centre and its future here in Burnham and Highbridge.”
Cllr Louise Parkin, Chairman of the Town Council’s Princess Management Committee, adds: “The funding supports our ambitions to reopen to the public in early 2021 and allows us to put infrastructure in place both physically in terms of COVID safety for our audiences, and also in terms of income generation.”
“We know that for every £1 spent by customers on attending the arts £5 is spent in the local economy. Culture is hugely valuable to the recovery post COVID and The Princess is very lucky that not only our town council supports that view, but now the Arts Council and our Government.”
“We must give huge thanks to our staff who have worked on this application, in particular Beccy Armory, Business Development Officer, who worked tirelessly to meet the short deadline. Thanks also goes to our supporters, their contributions have played a big part in our plans for the future.”
This grant along with the ACE emergency response funding has been a huge lifeline for The Princess. It has allowed it to continue plans for the future as opposed to mothballing the progress it had made.
Burnham-On-Sea’s MP James Heappey adds: “This funding is a lifeline to organisations like this and I know how thankful those in receipt of it are to continue their hard work behind-the-scenes to get their businesses back underway in a Covid-secure way.”
“I will continue to support the culture and arts industry in the Wells constituency through this tough time and I am pleased more than half a dozen grants have been handed out by DCMS in the past few weeks.”
The Princess Theatre and Arts Centre has been a part of Burnham and Highbridge for over 150 years. Home to a large number of local community groups, the Princess has a strong professional programme of events providing cultural entertainment to so many, both locally and those who visit the area.
Announcing the funding, 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 of the 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.”
Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support.