Newcastle Theatre Royal receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund

Newcastle Theatre Royal has been awarded £3million as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced today.

Newcastle Theatre Royal 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.

This follows £334 million awarded earlier in the month to nearly 2,000 organisations, also from the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

Newcastle Theatre Royal is a charity but operates in a commercial environment. It receives no regular funding and relies entirely on its share of ticket sales and related income, keeping only a small proportion of ticket income which pays for the running of theatre. 

Newcastle Theatre Royal has been closed since 23 March 2020, when the Prime Minister advised the public not to attend theatres. Since this date it has had no income but has instead refunded tens of thousands of tickets due to the impact of COVID-19. 

A date for reopening fully in 2021 is not yet confirmed but the future programme contains many great shows, to be announced soon. The Government funding will help the theatre bridge the gap from the current closure to a full programme, full audiences and financial viability. During this time the theatre will prepare the building and organisation for a different world, digital throughout, blended homeworking freeing up space for the public in the building and improved access and facilities for people with disabilities.

In a second exciting development, the Theatre Royal is also being supported by The National Lottery to present a socially distanced pantomime.  This is more great news for the people of Newcastle and the North East and full details will be announced very soon.

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.’

Philip Bernays, Chief Executive of Newcastle Theatre Royal Trust said:
‘We are thrilled and relieved; this is great news as we were at the point where, without intervention, we would have been at real risk of permanent closure. Theatres have a hugely important civic role in our society, bringing communities together and helping regional economies thrive, and we want to play our part in the years ahead.
‘This grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund is for the period to April 2021 and while there remains uncertainty beyond, it allows us to invest in creating an organisation that is sustainable in what will be a new and different “normal”. We can now turn the lights back on and look forward to a brighter future.’