Harlow Playhouse awarded £500,000 as part of Covid-19 Culture Recovery Fund

Harlow Playhouse has been awarded £531,551 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future; the Culture Secretary has announced today. 

Harlow Playhouse is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks. 

Harlow Playhouse’ vision is to be the Cultural Heart of Harlow for all, Harlow Playhouse is the only professional theatre in the authority’s area and the largest cultural organisation in the town. 

Our Mission is to create a vibrant, wide ranging programme; work with a social conscience, healthy living, positive wellbeing, and provide a platform for participation in the arts.

This funding will ensure that Harlow Playhouse can continue to deliver its vision into the future. 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery. 

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

Artistic and Executive Director, Rory Davies said: I am relieved that Harlow Playhouse has been successful in achieving the full requested funding from the Cultural recovery fund. Harlow Playhouse is an Important asset to Harlow and its community. This funding will ensure that Harlow Playhouse remains a viable option for the authority, as well as ensuring we can remain the cultural heart of Harlow for all. 

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Like colleagues across this wonderful industry, this year has been a challenge for us all, to be in receipt of such important funding really is a lifeline and we are eternally grateful. 

The remarkable team and I here at Harlow Playhouse will ensure we remain here to support and provide for our community. We have been open for a few weeks and we look forward to welcoming our patrons back to the theatre! WE MAKE THE MAGIC!  

Councillor Mark Ingall, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “I would like to thank our Playhouse Team for working so hard to secure this funding.

“During lockdown the theatre could not open due to public health restrictions and a full programme of shows had to be cancelled affecting the theatre’s regular income. The Playhouse like theatres across the country struggled and this funding will be used help the theatre now and going forward in these continued uncertain times. I know our Playhouse Team will continue to respond positively whatever the future challenges might be.

“During lockdown we continued to support the staff and while the theatre was closed the team carried on keeping audiences entertained with a programme of free digital shows. Staff were also redeployed to help other council services and help manage COVID-19 measures in the town centre which were introduced to keep residents safe.  

“The café and box office reopened in September and the team are currently preparing to welcome audiences back with this year’s alternative Christmas programme.

“The announcement of this funding comes at a crucial time for the theatre’s staff and is most welcome by all.”

The portfolio holder for community well-being, cllr Chris Vince said: ‘I would like to personally thank Rory Davis and his team at the Playhouse for the amount of work that they have put into securing this vital funding. Like theatres across the country this terrible pandemic has had a huge impact and this funding will secure the future of the playhouse and ensure that generations of residents of Harlow can continue to enjoy it.’ Cllr Chris Vince, Portfolio holder for Community and well-being.

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