Our artistic leadership team respond to the government's announcement of a £1.57bn arts support package
We were delighted by the news announced late last night of the government’s plans for a £1.57bn support package for the arts. Theatres and the wider live performance sector have been amongst the worst hit by the ongoing Covid crisis, and this pledge from Oliver Dowden and Rishi Sunak will help address the huge uncertainty we have been facing. We are grateful that our concerns have been heard and we look forward to further clarity on how the funds will be distributed over the coming weeks.
The theatre industry has a complex and intricate ecology, and the success of theatre venues like ours relies on the health of the arts sector as a whole. It is vital that the promised funding not only supports venues like the Belgrade, but also extends far and wide to cover freelancers, grassroots organisations and independent companies across the country – many of whom have been left with no support at all since March. It is especially important that struggling artists, companies and community venues outside London are not forgotten.
As we know, the UK’s world-class arts industry is a massive contributor to our national economy, as well as being a vital source of strength and support for people in difficult times. Theatres are at the heart of our communities, undertaking a wide range of outreach, education and talent development work that extends far beyond the shows on our stages.
Even during lockdown, our staff have been working tirelessly to stay connected with artists, audiences and community participants, and it’s fantastic to see this urgent and important work recognised by the government. We hope that this investment will enable us to fulfil our ambition of aiding the UK’s financial and social recovery from the crisis.
We would like to thank everyone who has advocated for us and championed our work in recent weeks. The personal testimonies, messages of support and active campaigning from our partners, friends and audiences have not only bolstered our spirits but have made a material difference in bringing about this outcome.
The real work now begins: this bailout can’t be an excuse to resume business as usual when we reopen. The pandemic and other recent world news stories have brought existing inequalities into sharp relief, both in the arts and elsewhere, and we must act on the lessons it has taught us. We promise to work tirelessly now to ensure that we emerge from the lockdown better than we went into it, ready to deliver a bold, diverse and groundbreaking programme for Coventry’s City of Culture year in 2021-22.
Balisha Karra, Corey Campbell and Justine Themen
Co-Artistic Directors for 2021