'Joy and hope' for Norwich Theatre venues after major grant

Stage Two, Norwich Theatre Royal and Norwich Playhouse are all run by Norwich Theatre Credit: Left a

Norwich Theatre has received a £240,000 grant to aid its digital transformation in response to coronavirus, pictured is its venues Stage Two, Norwich Theatre Royal and the Playhouse. - Credit: Archant

Norwich Theatre Royal and sister venues the Playhouse and Stage Two have received a major grant to kickstart a digital transformation.

Norwich Theatre, which runs all three, has been awarded £240,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation that supports around 2,000 charities in the UK each year.

The money, which is part of the charity's Weston Culture Fund established in response to coronavirus, will support the Digital Transformation Project running across the venues.

Norwich Theatre Royal prepare to open, with all new COVID measures in place, for their A Right Royal

The grant will fund in-house equipment to allow for performances and participatory activities to be streamed. Pictured is the auditorium at Norwich Theatre Royal. - Credit: Archant 2020

It will allow Norwich Theatre to make crucial adaptations to its programmes and buildings to build resilience and aid recovery.

The grant will provide digital production infrastructure and in-house equipment to enable the streaming of performances and participatory activities.

Digital display screens will also be installed in front of house and external areas, enabling efficient communication with audiences and supporting the process of making the buildings Covid-secure.

Norwich Theatre venues are set to go a major digital transformation after receiving a major grant. This includes digital...

Norwich Theatre venues are set to go a major digital transformation after receiving a major grant. This includes digital display screens to help make the buildings more Covid-safe. - Credit: Norwich Theatre 

Finally, the funding will enable Norwich Theatre to appoint its first ever digital producer to help lead the project and the role will be recruited soon.

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Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre, said: “After many difficult and challenging months, and as we still wait for a time when we might be able to reopen, this news is an injection of joy and hope for us all at Norwich Theatre.

"I am hugely grateful to the trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation for recognising our work to continue supporting artists and engaging our audiences during the pandemic.

Stephen Crocker, Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive, preparing to open the theatre with all new Covid-safe measures in...

Stephen Crocker, Norwich Theatre chief executive, inside Norwich Theatre Royal. - Credit: Archant 2020

"As we emerge from the Covid-19 crisis, we are more committed than ever before to our core mission of making creative experiences of all sorts available to as many people as we can.  

"This grant comes at a perfect time as we begin to consider how we rebuild our organisation, define a new culture and forge ahead with new strategies, all of which will have digital creation and engagement at their heart. It will be truly transformative.”

Norwich Theatre also received a rescue package worth £3 million from the government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund in October.

Mr Crocker has previously said it isn't financially viable to reopen the venues while social distancing restrictions remain.