Theatre Royal Plymouth has been handed a lifeline grant from the Government as part of its £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.
The venue, which has been closed for more than six months for the first time in its 37-year history, is one that has been hit hard by the restrictions put into place.
More than 100 jobs were put at risk after the coronavirus lockdown wiped out nearly all its income.
The theatre previously pleaded with supporters to buy tickets for forthcoming shows in the hope it could ensure its survival and dozens of supporters of the much-loved cultural venue staged a rally in Plymouth city centre pleading for more money to help in its survival.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced today that Theatre Royal Plymouth has been awarded £1,896,000 to help face the challenges the pandemic has brought, as well as ensuring it has a sustainable future.
Theatre Royal Plymouth is one of 35 major cultural organisations receiving the first grants between £1 and £3 million through the Culture Recovery Fund – with £75 million of investment announced today.
Plymouth’s Barbican Theatre and Plymouth Pavilions have also been given funding from the same pot of money, being awarded £167,000 and £726,000 respectively.
Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.
Adrian Vinken, CEO of TRP said it is a “great relief” to announce its application for the fund was successful.
He said: “We’re relieved to announce that our application to the government’s Culture Recovery Fund was successful and we have been awarded a £1,896,000 lifeline. This funding will enable us to continue to deliver our life-changing projects and support our local communities and theatre- makers.
“It should also help us to welcome audiences back to the theatre to see live shows in a safe and socially distanced way in the near future.
“This news is a great relief to us, for Plymouth and the cultural landscape of the far south-west and it demonstrates that the government clearly recognises the great economic, social and creative value of an organisation like Theatre Royal Plymouth to this city and region.
“Thank you to DCMS and Arts Council England for this fantastic news today and for their clear demonstration of support and confidence in TRP. We look forward to a growing programme of activity across and beyond our stages as conditions allow.”
It comes after Plymouth Moor View MP Johnny Mercer tweeted the news, stating he had “been successful in persuading” Mr Dowden to support TRP.
The now-deleted tweet read: “Just spoken to the Culture Secretary.. been successful in persuading him to support @TRPlymouth to the tune of £1.8m.”
Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP, Luke Pollard, raised concerns that “there is a real risk we will lose the creative talent from our city”.
He said: “Plymouth’s creative sector is a source of great pride for us as a city and thousands earn their income from the arts. We simply cannot afford to lose our local theatres, the freelancers and the expertise that makes this sector so special.
“I’m really pleased that the excellent team at Theatre Royal Plymouth have been awarded new support to help them keep going for a few months more.
“They won this result because of their hard work and they deserve our thanks for the leadership and dedication they’ve shown over the past months.
“With furlough ending in under a fortnight, there’s a real risk we will lose the creative talent from our city. These jobs must not be classed as unviable and that’s why we need Ministers to continue supporting the creative arts in Plymouth as this funding, though welcome, will only last for a few months more.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “As part of our unprecedented £1.57 billion rescue fund, today we’re saving British cultural icons with large grants of up to £3 million – from Shakespeare’s Globe to the Sheffield Crucible.
“These places and organisations are irreplaceable parts of our heritage and what make us the cultural superpower we are.
“This vital funding will secure their future and protect jobs right away.”
Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “The Culture Recovery Fund has already helped hundreds of organisations, of all types and sizes, in villages, towns and cities across the country.
“It has provided a lifeline that will allow these organisations to continue to play an integral role in their communities and produce new artistic work that will entertain and inspire us all.
“This latest funding, which are the largest grants to date, will support some of the country’s most loved and admired cultural spaces – from great regional theatres and museums to historic venues in the capital – which are critical to the development of a new generation of talent and in providing work for freelance creatives.”