Military Wives Choirs and The Hepworth Wakefield get share of £76m fund

Military Wives Choirs and The Hepworth Wakefield get share of £76m fund

Venues and organisations including the Military Wives Choirs, The Hepworth Wakefield and Night and Day in Manchester are to receive a share of £76m government arts funding.

Whitby’s Gothic Festival, London’s Somerset House and Kneehigh Theatre in Cornwall are also set to benefit.

The latest raft of grants, for 588 organisations, will come out of the wider £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund.

It follows Monday’s £257m injection, which helped The Cavern Club and LSO.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said that Saturday’s new round of “vital funding” would go to “protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back”.

It will cover comedy clubs, circuses, festivals, regional theatres and local museums, across England.

“These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country,” he added.

While July’s announcement of the wider support package was welcomed by the arts and entertainment industries, Mr Dowden did admit that it would not be enough to save every job or cultural establishment.

The Military Wives Choir rose to fame through the BBC documentary series with Gareth Malone and was recently the subject of a film starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan.

Director Melanie Nightingale said they were “incredibly grateful” for the “much-needed support,” at a time when many arts organisations have been struggling due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are thrilled that this funding enables our 73 choirs to sing, share and support one another and feel stronger together through music,” she said.

The grants of under £1m have also been awarded to the West End’s longest running play, The Mousetrap; the Shangri-La stage at Glastonbury Festival; and grassroots music venues, including Night & Day Cafe.

Jennifer Smithson, director of the latter Manchester venue, explained that the financial help “enables us to plan for the future when we look forward to having live music back at the venue once again”.

Joe Wright, who directed films including Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, is also a Kneehigh associate. He said he was delighted the Cornwall theatre had been successful in round two, and will now be able to reopen in December with the aim of providing safe, socially distanced outdoor artistic experiences.

“Kneehigh remain an inspiration for many throughout the sector, they’ve never got ‘stuck’ and have always been quick to adapt to new challenges,” he said.

“Their mission to remain local whilst telling stories that reflect all our lives is vital in helping us all through these unprecedented times.”

Further round of funding from the Cultural Recovery Fund pot are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Organisations that will be receiving funding part of the £76m include:

For a full list, visit the Arts Council England website.

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