Moody Theater, Austin, Texas
Image Source: _ Jonathan Cutrer
The community has lauded the package as "much needed".
Chloe Shakesby

Arts and culture rescue package: the business community reacts

Figures from the arts and culture community have commented on the government’s £1.57bn rescue package for the sector.

The package, which was announced yesterday evening, will provide institutions such as theatres, museums and live music venues with access to emergency grants and loans.

The arts community has said that the package is “unprecedented” and “much needed”.

Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA

“This is an unprecedented commitment from the government and long-awaited financial support which reflects the importance of the sector to the UK and internationally.

“With many neighbouring European countries investing heavily in the culture and arts sector, the UK g had been under mounting pressure to mimic the actions of their international counterparts.

“We will await further details of the announcement in the coming days to gain a greater understanding of the businesses which will benefit from this investment.

“We hope it will also include the vital supply chain businesses which are fundamental to the creative and cultural sector, of which the night-time economy businesses are very much a big part of.

“We also look forward to receiving updated guidance with regard to the phased return of the night-time economy sectors.”

Heather Salvador, Stagecoach Performing Arts

“The announced government funding package is a lifeline for the entire industry; without this much-needed cash injection, I can’t imagine how the arts would survive.

“Whilst the entire economy has been severely affected by the pandemic, the arts industry has been left wondering how and when we will get back on our feet.

“At Stagecoach, we teach children to sing, dance and act, but lessons have obviously been postponed for the foreseeable.

“Whilst we’re hopeful that lessons will be up and running again soon, we were unsure as to whether parents would be willing to send their children to classes without any clarity on whether or not theatres and venues would reopen at all.

“Now, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The funding will mean theatres can continue to stay afloat and prepare to greet patrons safely, as soon as restrictions are lifted.

“The money will help safeguard the sector for future generations and protect the UK’s longstanding cultural heritage.

“A major appeal of our lessons is the regular theatre trips we plan for our students, so we’re excited to be able to offer that service again very soon!”

**Henry Stuart, founder and CEO of London-based Visualise **

“As a supplier of virtual gig and performance technology, we are delighted to hear about the government’s incredibly generous funding package for our clients in the arts and culture sectors.

“We hope that this breathing space will give the time for these hugely important institutes to continue to evolve into the hybrid physical / digital / immersive places that they need to be in a post Covid world.”

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region

“I welcome the government’s £1.5bn package of support for the arts and heritage sector, including live music venues.

“As I have long maintained, this is a sector that is vital not just for our economy but for our spirit as a nation, and which has been hit especially hard by the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Our research shows that arts and cultural organisations in South Yorkshire have suffered an audience loss of nearly four million people.

“Between April and August, their expected combined income loss is £30m.

“In the region’s music industry alone predicted losses due to cancelled shows and events during 2020 are £1.2m.

“I’m pleased that the government have listened to the pleas from many across the industry for support.

“I wrote to DCMS back in May to urge them to fill in the financial gap that is affecting our artists, musicians, crew members and tech support teams.

“In Sheffield alone, the sector contributed £248.12 million to the local economy before COVID and employed an estimated 7,230 people, while supporting a wider network of an estimated 21,000 freelancers.

“Of course, the devil will be in the detail. We especially need to ensure that this funding reaches our smaller local and regional organisations as well as the bigger national ones.

“The loss of a theatre in a small town is felt more keenly than in London or other big cities.

“We need to make sure local arts projects, grass root venues and freelancers, who are the backbone of this industry, get the support they need to allow them to build back better and thrive in the future.

“Art, culture, music and heritage can serve as important contributors to recovery and renewal, contributing to healthy and sustainable communities, strong local identities, and vibrant town centres.

“I will continue fighting for this industry to ensure that the funding announced by the government reaches all who need it most.”

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