The government recently announced how it plans to assist arts organisations through the £1.57bn recovery package announced last month.

In a first round of funding distribution, Arts Council England will oversee the allocation of £500 million for theatres, music and comedy venues and museums, to help support them throughout the ongoing crisis. A further £122 million will be distributed by the British Film Institute, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England.

A reserve of £258 million will be kept for a second round of distribution later in the financial year, administered by a new Culture Recovery Board, chaired by Damon Buffini.

Arts Council England has reserved a mere £2 million of its allocation to help freelancers across the country, including: technicians, stage managers, artists and performers. Artists’ union Equity called this “devastating news”. Nonetheless, the portion of the Arts Council fund allocated to Coastal Currents’ current commissions programme will at least provide some support to local creatives. To sign up, go to: www.coastalcurrents.org.uk/commissions and follow the links. Equity encourages anyone willing to write to their MP and demand more provision for isolated artists and freelancers struggling to make ends meet.  The union also reminded the government that “funding made available to institutions must be attached to clear organisation-specific commitments to eliminate gaps in representation and pay”. 

The government is unlikely to be able to give advice on re-opening indoor theatre shows and similar events until November at the earliest.


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