Norwich arts venue on year-long battle to stay open
- Credit: Denise Bradley
A Norwich performance venue that champions creativity in young people has seen its future secured after “countless lost nights' sleep trying to stay afloat”.
The Garage is one of 21 arts, film and heritage groups across the city to have been awarded grants totalling almost £2.5m from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund to help them survive and recover from the financial impact of coronavirus.
Executive director Adam Taylor said the past 12 months had been “tough, really tough” but they had “worked hard to retain staff and continue working”.
He said: “My heart goes out to colleagues from other organisations who have lost their jobs. It's tough, at times we can only see the rock and the hard place as leaders, but that doesn't diminish the impact of those decisions on our colleagues and their lives.
“I'm pleased to say that our organisation hasn't gone through the turmoil of redundancy and I'm really looking forward to getting back in our theatres and dance studios with my colleagues.”
The Chapelfield Road venue, which is the base to a range of arts classes and presents theatre and dance performances aimed at young people, has been awarded £54,974 on top of £75,000 it received last October.
Mr Taylor said: “We have made use of as much funding as we were able to get. We are indebted to local trusts and foundations in their support of our work.”
The venue has also received funding from Norwich Charitable Trusts, Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Community Foundation through to the National Lottery Community Foundation, and Arts Council England.
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They have also been helped by donations and by customers continuing to buy tickets to shows and classes despite the uncertain future caused by the pandemic.
“All of these mean that we haven't been on the precipice of closure - but I, and colleagues, have lost countless night’s sleep trying to stay afloat for those that the charity has the biggest impact upon, children in our county who face challenging circumstances,” said Mr Taylor.
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The Garage is launching its new term of classes online from April 19 but plans to restart activities back into its studios from June 7.