Theatre given ‘lifeline’ £300k funding grant to help its survival

PUBLISHED: 06:45 15 October 2020

John Crockford-Hawley has written a book on the Blakehay Theatre. Picture: Sally Heath

John Crockford-Hawley has written a book on the Blakehay Theatre. Picture: Sally Heath

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The Blakehay Theatre has received a ‘lifeline grant’ from Government’s £1.57billion Culture Recovery Fund.

Blakehay Theatre, Weston-s-Mare. Theatre has bid for cash, for its SEN project.    

Picture: MARK ATHERTONBlakehay Theatre, Weston-s-Mare. Theatre has bid for cash, for its SEN project. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Weston Town Council has been awarded £323,000 for the theatre, in Wadham Street, to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure it has a sustainable future.

The theatre is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support.

The theatre runs a diverse programme of locally produced and touring work.

Not only is the theatre a vital part of the town council’s strategy, with heritage arts and culture one the five priority pillars, it is also essential to the North Somerset Council’s 10-year strategy for heritage arts and culture.

Sally Heath, Blakehay Theatre manager. Theatre has bid for cash, for its SEN project.    

Picture: MARK ATHERTONSally Heath, Blakehay Theatre manager. Theatre has bid for cash, for its SEN project. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The town council’s heritage arts and culture committee chairman, John Crockford-Hawley, said: “My congratulations to town council officers who burned the midnight oil to get this application in on time during what I know was an incredibly short preparation time.

“It is a lifeline to the Blakehay Theatre’s survival.”

The theatre is at the heart of a growing creative network in Weston which aims not only to be inclusive for all, but also actively encourages and educates the community about the importance of culture.

The funding will enable the Blakehay to make adaptations to service provision and performances, without which the theatre would be unable to reopen. Without reopening, the theatre would be unable to stay financially viable.

The grant will pay for physical changes to be made to the Blakehay and new equipment to ensure it is Covid safe.

It will also fund changes to the business plan which are vital during the coronavirus pandemic.

The theatre manager, Sally Heath, said: “We are absolutely thrilled for this news as not only will this help us now but it will ensure the future of the theatre.”

Town council clerk, Malcolm Nicholson, added: “The Blakehay Theatre belongs to the people of Weston and through modest subsidy can showcase a wide range of dramatic and cultural arts events. We are delighted to have received this national level recognition of its value to the local community.”


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