Iconic London venues like Wigmore Hall, the Ministry of Sound and the Hackney Empire are set to receive some of the £257 million announced today as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund — the biggest ever one-off investment in our theatres, galleries, music venues and performing arts organisations.
In these difficult times, these grants will help nearly 1,400 arts organisations across the country to survive. It will help to ensure that venues can reopen and save jobs, maintaining our world-class cultural offer and providing opportunities for the creative talent that powers it.
Our theatres, live music venues, museums and galleries bring in billions to the economy every year. But the pleasure they bring to millions of us every year is priceless. London is a global cultural powerhouse and I am determined we ensure it remains the envy of the world.
This morning I saw first-hand how The Royal Academy of Dance is touching the lives of thousands of aspiring dancers of all ages. Their new coronavirus-era strapline is: It’s time to renew, review and rebuild. It’s receiving £606,000 in its 100th year to allow it to continue its education programmes, nurturing the next generation of internationally renowned dancers but also allowing Londoners to enjoy and understand the joy of dance, for example through its Silver Swans programme for older people. Another beneficiary is The Young Vic, which began its life as an offshoot of the Old Vic and was only intended to last five years. Fifty years on, it has become an institution known around the world, launching the stage careers of actors including Letitia Wright, Billie Piper and the late Diana Rigg. Its £961,000 grant will help the theatre to continue to tell the contemporary stories that need to be heard.
London is a global cultural powerhouse and I am determined it will remain the envy of the world
It’s not all traditional theatre and dance. We’re also supporting Elephant and Castle’s legendary nightclub, the Ministry of Sound, and the family-run Electric Ballroom in Camden, which has hosted the likes of Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney and Prince.
Culture has never been more important than in the last few months, with music, theatre and art giving so many of us the chance to connect with one another, be inspired and stay positive in difficult times. Today’s announcement shows that the Government is here for culture in return, with this massive support package ensuring our cultural sector can bounce back and be there for future generations.
Oliver Dowden is Secretary of State for Media, Culture, Digital and Sport