A Coventry theatre has welcomed news of the government's £1.57million support package for the arts, and is now eagerly awaiting more detail as to how it may benefit from the bailout package.

The Belgrade Theatre, which is due to play a central role in Coventry's City of Culture year from 2021 to 2022, is keen to see benefits spread as widely as possible.

The theatre's creative leadership team - consisting of Artistic Director Hamish Glen and 2021 Co-Artistic Directors Corey Campbell, Justine Themen and Balisha Karra - said that the funding needed to do more than simply support venues: 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.”

Image left to right: Joanna Reid, Corey Campbell, Balisha Karra, Justine Themen and Hamish Glen

Executive Director Joanna Reid agreed, emphasising the importance of making sure the funding is evenly distributed across the country: “As 2021 rapidly approaches, it’s more important than ever that we are well supported to continue entertaining and inspiring our communities. Where the Belgrade is now is the result of years of cumulative work and investment, which has recently included significant amounts of funding, time and preparation for the planning of our City of Culture programme. In light of this, we feel it’s vital that we’re able to deliver on our promises to the people of Coventry and beyond.

“The City of Culture programme itself is part of wider government efforts in recent years to drive urgently needed investment into cities outside London, going hand-in-hand with the redistribution of Arts Council funding. We know that a well-funded, thriving local arts scene comes with huge social and economic benefits, from supporting young people and marginalised communities, to generating income for nearby restaurants, pubs, hotels, car parks, public transport services and more.”