The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Arts Council England have today announced that 35 of the country’s major arts and cultural organisations – two thirds of which are outside the capital – are the first to receive grants between £1 and £3 million from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The Black Country will receive £3,747,335 to protect some of the most significant stages and venues including:

  • Black Country Living Museum (£2,559,805) – Black Country Living Museum is an award-winning immersive open-air museum that tells the story of one of the very first industrialised landscapes in Britain. It does this by allowing visitors to explore actual historical buildings and have interactions with volunteers as historically accurate characters. Areas in the museum are often used to film scenes in the popular TV series, Peaky Blinders. The funding will allow them to remain open at 50% capacity and to flex and adapt so that it can be Covid-safe and respond to demand. The money also allows them to look after their designated collection, keep on uniquely skilled staff and support their community.
  • Wolverhampton Grand Theatre (£1,187,530) – Wolverhampton Grand Theatre is a 125-year-old Grade II listed Victorian theatre, serving the whole of the Black Country including, Sandwell, Walsall and Dudley, and brings audiences from Telford and Cannock Chase. Each year, it welcomes thousands of people either as an audience member to experience touring productions including West End shows, or to take part in their in-house education programme and outreach activities which work with local people and creative freelance artists. This funding will help them keep their skilled staff locally and ensure the theatre can remain active to prepare for reopening. To make best use of the theatre while it’s closed, maintenance and training will take place. Virtual and remote activities at the theatre will include a Dementia programme, multiple Theatre in Education strands including school workshops, Introduction to Pantomime, community projects and Youth Theatre.

Today’s announcement builds on £334 million of funding which has been awarded to nearly 2,000 cultural organisations and venues of all sizes, including museums, circuses, festivals and comedy clubs across the country, to help them plan for reopening and restart performances and programmes. The certainty and security provided by these grants will help these organisations keep going and create more opportunities for freelancers.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden said: “We can’t afford to lose the places that keep the arts alive which is why we are supporting talented creatives up and down the country. These organisations are irreplaceable parts of our country’s arts and culture offer which is why we are delivering record financial support to the sector.

“More money is on the way for cultural organisations of every shape and size so that as many places as possible can be supported through the pandemic.”

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England said: “We’re delighted that the Black Country Living Museum and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre have been successful to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. They are cornerstones of the Black Country’s cultural offer and this grant will offer them some short-term security and the opportunity to plan for the future.

“The Government’s package is hugely welcome, providing much of the sector with resources to remain in business through to the Spring. Well-loved community projects, theatres, galleries, museums, clubs, music venues, festivals, key cultural suppliers along with other creative spaces and projects have benefited, and their communities will feel a boost as a result. At a time where many communities and organisations face difficult challenges, this is a chance to continue on the road to recovery, post-Covid.”