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‘An extraordinary relief’ - Norwich Theatre given lifeline £3m grant

Norwich Theatre, which runs Norwich Theatre Royal, Playhouse and Stage Two, has received £3 million of the government's Culture Recovery Fund. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Norwich Theatre, which runs Norwich Theatre Royal, Playhouse and Stage Two, has received £3 million of the government's Culture Recovery Fund. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

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Norwich Theatre Royal, the Playhouse and Stage Two will receive a “lifeline” rescue package worth £3m from the government.

Stage Two, Norwich Theatre Royal and Norwich Playhouse are all run by Norwich Theatre Credit: Left and right image Denise Bradley, centre Antony KellyStage Two, Norwich Theatre Royal and Norwich Playhouse are all run by Norwich Theatre Credit: Left and right image Denise Bradley, centre Antony Kelly

Norwich Theatre runs all three venues and is one of 35 of the country’s major cultural organisations that will receive grants totalling £75m from the government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s fund aims to help the cultural sector across the UK survive and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Norwich Theatre normally welcomes around 450,000 visitors each year, but the majority of its income stopped overnight in March when the nation went into lockdown.

While the organisation was able to raise more than £200,000 through a successful fundraising appeal, it still was not financially viable and as a result underwent a major restructure with 165 job losses.

Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre, outside Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Ella WilkinsonStephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre, outside Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

It is currently unknown when theatres will be able to reopen at full capacity, but the £3m grant is a vital injection of support and can be used to cover operating costs until March 31 next year.

READ MORE: Norwich arts venues celebrate after receiving combined total of £1.87 million

Stephen Crocker, chief executive at Norwich Theatre, said: “When I found out my body just shivered as we have been working entirely in survival mode and had some really low points, like the restructure, so it was emotional to get the help we need.

“With this grant comes extraordinary relief that our organisation has a lifeline until the end of March and an opportunity to recover, but it is accompanied by a profound feeling of responsibility as well.

“We will use these funds to reset ourselves in a way that supports the wider cultural ecology in our city, county and region.”

READ MORE: 10 things to do in Norfolk over October half-term

The latest announcement builds on £334m of funding which has already been awarded to nearly 2,000 cultural organisations and venues of all sizes, including 11 Norwich venues with grants totalling £1.87m.

Norwich Theatre Royal is set to temporarily reopen its doors from December 16 to 24 for ‘A Right Royal Christmas’ with socially distanced shows.


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