Theatres have been unable to open since the UK went into lockdown in March
The government has unveiled a £1.57bn support package to help protect the futures of UK theatres, galleries, museums and other cultural venues.It follows several weeks of pressure, with industry leaders warning that many venues were on the brink of collapse.Independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues will also be eligible for the new emergency grants and loans.Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts is expected to be published by the government shortly.A string of theatres have announced plans to make staff redundant in recent weeks, after being closed since the coronavirus pandemic took hold earlier this year.The announcement of the new funding comes just two days after theatres across the UK were covered in colourful messages of support.
The rescue package has been warmly welcomed by many arts leaders, some of whom said they thought it to be at the upper end of what had been hoped for. The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, who has been under pressure from the arts and heritage sector to deliver a meaningful funding solution to a crisis brought about by Covid-19, feels vindicated that his behind-closed-doors approach to negotiations with the Treasury has paid off.As always, the devil will be in the detail. The government has not specified how the money will be divided between competing art forms or regions, nor how the application process will work. There will be winners and losers.And then there’s the elephant in the auditorium: when will t