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Funding of £7,850,631 has today been awarded through the Arts Council to support 92 organisations in Birmingham and Solihull as part of today’s announcement of further funding through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund - supporting theatres, galleries, museums, performance groups, arts organisations and local venues facing the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and ensuring they have a sustainable future.
Investment of more than £1 million has been awarded to 12 grassroots music venues in the city, including The Actress and the Bishop, The Old Crown and The Night Owl. This funding will support the phased reopening of these venues and allow them to restart their live music programming.
Organisations receiving funding in Birmingham and Solihull as part of today’s announcement include Town Hall and Symphony Hall, The Glee Club, Birmingham Pride and Art at the Heart CIC.
Organisations receiving funding in Birmingham and Solihull include:
- Art at the Heart (£20,709) is a community organisation that aims to improve wellbeing, access to arts and culture and get more people engaged in creativity. They facilitate workshops and introduce children and young people to specialist arts teachers. This funding will enable Art at the Heart to maintain their current staff, create more online activity and develop an online Arts Award learning platform.
- Birmingham Pride (£40,190) is one of the largest LGBTQ+ Pride festivals in the UK. The event attracts more than 40,000 attendees over the course of the weekend, hosting five stages and more than 150 performance artists. This funding will allow the Pride Festival to go ahead in September 2021 welcoming audiences from across the UK and support programming diverse talent.
- Founded in 1931, Birmingham Royal Ballet (£175,000) is unique in the UK’s cultural ecology as the only ballet company of its size and status based outside of London. They bring world-class ballet and arts education to millions of people in the UK and internationally. This funding will support the filming and live streaming of the 'Curated by Carlos Festival' in June 2021, as well as the filming of a new series of schools and family concerts designed and performed by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
- Black Voices UK (£27,500) is a Birmingham-based female a cappella quintet, with an international reach of concerts and outreach work. This funding will support them to deliver digital work and to plan future programmes addressing audience needs in a post-pandemic world.
- China Plate (£176,417) is an independent theatre studio that works with artists, venues, festivals and funders to develop, make and present engaging, entertaining and accessible new work. They create adventurous and imaginative theatre with both appeal and a social purpose. Performances go on to tour and are shown in theatres, village halls, schools, outdoors and at festivals in the UK and internationally. This funding will be used to present and develop live work, including their key projects 'Gin Craze' and 'Wuthering Heights.'
- The Crescent Theatre (£107,000) is based in Brindleyplace. They are home to an in-house amateur theatre company that stages productions. The space is also used for performances and rehearsals by touring companies. The funding will allow the theatre to reopen, initially as a rehearsal space for Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. It will also see them continue to produce live-streamed performances.
- The Electric Swing Circus (£32,000) is a six-piece band who create a fusion of retro swing and modern electronic music. They host a regular club night in Birmingham, Hot Club de Swing, and curate events and stages across Europe. This funding will allow them to restart their planned tour.
- Geese Theatre Company (£26,031) is a long-established arts in criminal justice organisation – with a team of specialist staff who create and deliver interactive theatre and facilitate drama-based groupwork within prisons. This funding will allow the company to continue providing life-changing theatre work to some of the most marginalised people in the country.
- The Glee Club (£123,201) hosts two comedy venues, one in Birmingham and one in Nottingham. They were originally the first purpose-built comedy venue outside London and now offer a diverse range of cultural programming including live music, theatre, spoken word and poetry, drag artists and cabaret. This funding will allow a phased reopening of both venues, initially with restarting weekend shows which will offer a full cultural programme.
- The Play House (£41,177) is a Theatre in Education Company that uses participatory theatre and drama to support children and young people in schools, they create a new programme each year. This funding will allow them to continue their successful digital offer and begin to create new programmes benefitting schools and supporting creative learning and well-being in children and young people.
- Polish Expats Association (£26,000) supports community integration and celebrate Central and Eastern European art and culture. They run Centrala, a creative space in Birmingham, that is home to an art gallery and music venue. This funding will support the reopening of Centrala over the months to follow.
- Town Hall and Symphony Hall (£465,325) are two of the UK’s most significant concert halls. Symphony Hall is unmatched in the UK for acoustic excellence and is regarded as one of the top 10 halls in the world. These venues attract international artists of the highest calibre from established national ensembles to aspiring first time musicians from local schools. The venues also play host to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Jazzlines, a programme of creative jazz music and talent development initiatives as well as performance opportunities to emerging and established contemporary jazz musicians. This funding will allow Performances Birmingham to continue with live-streamed performances and music lessons and prepare for their reopening.
- We Make Stuff Happen (£42,500) is a creative production company that specialises in fabrication, design of props, sets and art installations as well as the production of cultural events. They work with a variety of clients including big named brands such as Cadbury's, Marks and Spencer and Virgin Trains to smaller artists event promoters. This funding will be used to support the planning and production of Bigfoot, an outdoor music festival, held in the grounds of Ragely Hall stately home in Alcester.
Secretary of State for Culture, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record-breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced.
“Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors - helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead."
Today’s announcement brings the Government's total investment across grants, capital and repayable finance from the Culture Recovery Fund so far to more than £1.2 billion across over 5,000 individual cultural organisations and sites.
The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.
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