Alnwick Playhouse reopening hopes boosted by 'fantastic investment' in arts

Alnwick Playhouse bosses have welcomed government funding for the arts and are confident they will be able to reopen when safe to do so.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 5:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th July 2020, 5:27 pm

The venue, which reopened in January after a £3.3m refurbishment, was forced to close its doors in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It secured vital new crisis funding to help it through the closure period and is hoping to benefit from the £1.57bn investment announced by the government earlier this week to protect Britain’s cultural, arts and heritage institutions.

Playhouse manager Jo Potts said: “It is a fantastic investment into the sector and offers hope to many individuals and organisations who have been working since lockdown to lobby the government for crucial financial support.

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Alnwick Playhouse.

“It is too early to comment on what funds may be available to arts organisations operating in rural areas however we look forward to clarity of how these funds will be allocated and invested over the coming weeks.”

The venue was on track for one of its busiest seasons ever until Covid-19 arrived.

Between January and March over 12,400 people had participated in the arts programme of live and film events including free drop in activities, ticketed talks, public tours and workshops and 3,000 of those were first time attendees.

Jo said: “The Playhouse had become the arts centre that we have always aspired for, a wonderful example of how great architecture, lighting and design can elevate a community space to look and feel amazing to be in. To have been forced into closure so soon after working so hard to reopen in January was devastating for everyone.”

It is no secret that Covid-19 is having a huge impact on the theatre industry, especially for organisations like Alnwick Playhouse, where 92% of income comes from tickets and related sales. It continues to be a hugely challenging time for venues, artists and creative communities.

Most of the Playhouse’s core staff have been furloughed until it can operate a live programme. Online surveys are being conducted with volunteers and customers to help inform its future planning.

Alnwick Playhouse is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the BFI Film Audience Network Covid-19 Resilience Fund.

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19 pictures of the grand reopening of Alnwick Playhouse.

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