London Symphony Orchestra and CBSO among arts institutions first to receive £257m survival fund

13 October 2020, 14:07 | Updated: 13 October 2020, 14:08

London Symphony Orchestra among arts institutions to receive £257m survival fund
London Symphony Orchestra among arts institutions to receive £257m survival fund. Picture: PA

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Some of England’s most prized orchestras and music venues have been told today they will receive the first allocation of money from the £1.57bn arts recovery fund.

More than 1,300 arts organisations across England, including the Birmingham Royal Ballet and London Symphony Orchestra, will receive a share of a £257m government lifeline to help them survive the next six months.

Orchestras, concert halls, theatres and museums were told today how much they will receive, in the first allocation from the Treasury’s much anticipated £1.57bn arts fund.

The £257m share is for organisations which applied for less than £1m.

It will go to venues and arts organisations rather than freelance workers, who have strongly urged the government to support them during the pandemic. Ministers said the money will allow venues to plan for reopening and performances to recommence.

Among the orchestras to receive funding is Manchester’s Hallé, which receives £740,000 to help out with its fortnightly live streamed concerts from the Bridgewater Hall. Plus, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has been awarded £843,000 to help it return to giving live concerts in a safe and COVID-compliant way.

Read more: Tasmin Little warns of ‘cultural desert’ as 400 musicians protest in Parliament Square >

Birmingham Royal Ballet to receive cash from £257m fund
Birmingham Royal Ballet to receive cash from £257m fund. Picture: Getty

Meanwhile, London Symphony Orchestra gets £846,000 to help phased return to live music, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic gets £748,000 to support its planned short, physically distanced programme, which will all be recorded and streamed.

The Birmingham Royal Ballet gets £500,000 to help with losses from cancelled performances and touring. Wigmore Hall in London will receive £1m.

The £257m pot comes from the government but is distributed by Arts Council England (ACE). Sir Nicholas Serota, ACE’s chair, said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages.

“This is a difficult time for us all, but this first round of funding from the culture recovery fund will help sustain hundreds of cultural spaces and organisations that are loved and admired by local communities and international audiences.”

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden described the funding as “a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation”.

“It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.”

The cash accounts for 1,385 arts institutions across England. Venues who applied for grants between £1m and £3m are still waiting to hear news of their funding.

Back in July, ACE detailed that £270m in loans were to be given to larger organisations, who would receive £3m over a longer period. Further details of the loans are yet to be announced.

Other venues receiving details of grants today include Liverpool’s Cavern Club, which helped launch The Beatles’ career, the Bristol Old Vic Theatre and London’s Royal Academy of Dance.

On a bleaker note, Arts Professional reports that of nearly 2,000 organisations that applied for funding to see them through to March, 578 were rejected as being either unviable or capable of surviving without financial support.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said it had prioritised cultural venues with national and local significance, and iconic venues known around the world.