Westacre Theatre, situated in the heart of rural West Norfolk, was due to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2020 but many planned celebratory events had to be cancelled when theatres were forced to close last March. A limited number of open-air events were staged during the summer but it is not expected theatres in general will be able to operate as normal (without social distancing) until April at the earliest
The ACE grant will enable the theatre to spend the next six months preparing a significant package of events and productions ready for the theatre’s re-launch as soon as Covid 19 restrictions are lifted. The grant covers the cost of improvements to the theatre’s open-air facilities together with start up costs for two new staffing appointments to assist with the theatre’s future event development.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations. These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”
Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Culture is an essential part of life across the country, helping to support people’s wellbeing through creativity and self-expression, bringing communities together, and fuelling our world class creative industries.
“This latest set of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund builds on those announced recently and will help hundreds of organisations to survive the next few months, ensuring that the cultural sector can bounce back after the crisis. We will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations, with further funding to be announced in the coming weeks.”
Matt Grist, the chairman of the theatre’s management board said: "This is fantastic news and a huge credit to all the work West Acre has done historically and a wonderful endorsement of our future plans. Needless to say it is also a massive boost to our efforts to survive these turbulent times and carve a sustainable and exciting future"