(L - R) Arts Minister, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Marianne Locatori, Chief Executive, and Nick Swales, Chair of the Board of Directors.
(L - R) Arts Minister, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Marianne Locatori, Chief Executive, and Nick Swales, Chair of the Board of Directors.
Matthew Neville

Newcastle Theatre Royal spotlighted by arts minister

One year on from receiving a lifeline grant of £3m from the Government’s £1.87bn Culture Recovery Fund, Newcastle Theatre Royal welcomed Arts Minister, Lord Parkinson.

The Whitley Bay art minister visited his native Tyneside to highlight how the city’s 184-year-old cultural venue is emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic after almost 18 months of closure.

During his visit, Lord Parkinson, who was born in North Shields, joined the audience for the matinee of The Drifters Girl. The new musical produced by Wallsend-born Michael Harrison has had a two-week world premiere run in the region ahead of its transfer to London’s West End.

Lord Parkinson said: “Newcastle Theatre Royal was the first theatre I ever visited, which makes it all the more special to be returning as Arts Minister. Theatres big and small have so much to offer their local communities and it was fantastic to hear about the wonderful education and participation programme on offer here.

“It’s been a challenging period for our brilliant theatres up and down the country, but I’m delighted to see the Theatre Royal thriving thanks to the hard work of the staff and a £3 million grant from the government’s unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund.

“I’d encourage everyone to support their local theatres by coming to enjoy the sort of magical experience you can only get with live theatre.”

Marianne Locatori, chief executive of the Newcastle Theatre Royal said: “A year on, we are delighted that we are now able to welcome back audiences and return to what we do best – presenting world class performances on our stage to entertain hundreds of thousands of people from across the North East and beyond year on year.

“The long period of closure for venues up and down the country served as a significant reminder of just how truly special live theatre is, highlighting the importance of arts and culture, not only for entertainment, but for our health and well-being and community Connection.”

She continued: “We are seeing encouraging signs that our audiences have a real desire to return to theatres and live performances. However, we are very much aware that there is still a long road ahead. It is vitally important that arts and culture is a central part of the post pandemic recovery of this vibrant and fantastic city.

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