Choirs and comedians among recipients of £76m Covid arts aid – The Guardian

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Comedy clubs, circuses, choirs and theatres across England are in line to receive a share of £76m of government funding for the cultural sector.

The Military Wives Choirs, Somerset House and Kneehigh Theatre in Cornwall are among the 588 organisations that will share the latest round of grants of up to £1m as part of the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.

The 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 … These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”

The Military Wives Choirs have been awarded £92,057, Kneehigh Theatre in Cornwall will receive £249,833 and Birmingham’s Moseley folk And arts festival will get £50,000.

Hilary Davan Wetton, the artistic director of the Military Wives Choirs, said: “I am delighted that the unique and far-reaching contribution that choral singing makes to the lives of our military families has been recognised by the government’s Cultural Recovery Fund.

“It will enable Military Wives Choirs to maintain their ambition through the many obstacles of the current situation; in these grim times this award shines out like a beacon in a dark night.”

Zippos Circus will receive £628,986 to continue with coronavirus-secure performances across the country.

Also on the list of second round grants is Somerset House, which will receive £850,000, while the comedy venue the Comedy Store will receive £964,252.

Its founder and chief executive, Don Ward, said: “Over 41 years have passed since I opened the very first alternative comedy venue in London, after 20 years I added a second venue in Manchester.

“I was devastated … when we had to close both venues due to the coronavirus and all the relative problems it brought to the understandably enforced closure.

“The investment will ensure that we will be back to entertain live audiences as soon as it is safe to do so, protecting livelihoods and the art form of comedy itself.”

Other recipients include:

• The Hepworth Wakefield Trust, Wakefield, Yorkshire – £146,726

• Whitby gothic festival, North Yorkshire – £55,000

• Huddersfield contemporary music festival, Yorkshire – £50,000

• Walk the Plank, Salford – £170,268

• The Puppet Theatre Barge, London – £52,352

• Britten Sinfonia, Cambridge – £197,810

• Leicester comedy festival – £105,000

• Paraorchestra, Bristol – £156,000

• Nottingham Museums – £180,000

The Arts Council England chairman, 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.”

The latest round of funding follows the £257m that was allocated on Monday. Further rounds are due to be announced in the coming weeks.


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