Culture recovery fund: Royal Exchange theatre, Design Museum and Fabric to get at least £1m

Lanre Bakare Arts and culture correspondent
·3 min read
<span>Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA</span>
Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA

The Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester, the Design Museum and Fabric nightclub in London are among the cultural institutions to receive at least £1m in the latest round of grants from the government’s £1.57bn cultural recovery fund.

In total, £75m will be given to 35 organisations, including theatres, museums, music venues and dance companies, among them Rambert (£1.28m), Sadler’s Wells (£2.9m) and the English National Ballet (£3m).

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The culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, said the grants would help to save “British cultural icons”. The grants are the largest to be offered so far.

Dowden added that the successful venues, such as Shakespeare’s Globe (£2.9m) in London and the Sheffield Crucible (£2.2m) theatre ,are “irreplaceable parts of our heritage” that help make Britain a “cultural superpower”.

Around 70% of funding was awarded to organisations outside the capital, with big winners including the Mayflower theatre in Southampton, Birmingham Hippodrome theatre, Newcastle’s Theatre Royal and Norwich Theatre, which were awarded £3m each.

Venues in Leeds received a combined total of just under £4m, with Leeds Theatre Trust Ltd, which runs the Leeds Playhouse, receiving £2.3m, and the Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House being awarded £1.5m. The Royal Exchange theatre was given £2.8m.

The Design Museum will receive £2.9m. The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, where scenes for Peaky Blinders and Stan & Ollie have been filmed, will be given £2.6m.

Fabric was awarded £1.5m and was one of only five music venues that received funding in this round, along with Bournemouth’s BH Live (£2.4m), North Music Trust (£1.8m), which runs Sage Gateshead, Performances Birmingham Ltd (£2.5m), and the ACC Liverpool Group (£2.9m).

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Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, which was responsible for awarding the grants, said the money was a “lifeline” that would allow the organisations to play “an integral role in their communities and produce new artistic work that will entertain and inspire us all”.

Adrian Lester, actor and trustee of the Birmingham Repertory theatre, which was awarded £1.3m, said the institution inspired him to take up acting and had an impact beyond the economic contribution it makes. “It is an essential and vital pathway for aspiring talent and for creating truly world-class productions, and for welcoming back that talent when it has flowered,” he said.

Andrew Scott, actor and the Old Vic ambassador, said the announcement of its £3m award was a positive step forward in helping the theatre “survive and thrive” as it adapts to the impact of Covid-19.

This is the fourth round of funding announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). In previous rounds, independent cinemas, heritage institutions and cultural organisations were awarded grants of up to £1m.

The DCMS said £500m of support has now been awarded to British cultural institutions. The grants are designed to help them survive until April 2021.

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The Arts Council has been criticised for some of the grants it has awarded so far. Critics have pointed to the £350,000 given to two organisations ultimately owned by multibillion-pound co-living company The Collective, as first reported by Vice News.

Peckham Levels and POP Brixton will both receive money via the last round of the government’s culture recovery fund, despite being part of a company with a combined property portfolio of £2.7bn.