West End theatres share £900,000 in government funding to get Covid ready

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ix West End theatres will share almost £900,000 in government funding to get Covid ready ahead of re-opening.

Nimax Theatres, which operates venues including the Palace Theatre and the Lyric, will get the money from the Culture Recovery Fund to pay for Covid-testing equipment, deep cleaning and staff training.

It is part of another £400 million in government grants and loans given to more than 2,700 organisations as part of the wider £1.2 billion fund.

Also in line for funding is the Glastonbury Festival, which is receiving £900,000, and East Finchley’s Phoenix Cinema which is receiving £138,333 as part of the wider £6.5 million awarded by the BFI to independent cinemas.

Dame Judi Dench, who is a patron of the historic cinema which first opened its doors in 1912, said: “Local cinemas are a vital part of our cultural lives, enthralling us with films about lives we recognise as well as offering us stories about other cultures from around the world.

“They are places where people come together for a shared experience and have inspired many to make their careers on screen. We need to make sure that generations today and in the future have the same opportunities to enjoy and take part in the communal big screen experience.”

Other beneficiaries include the London Transport Museum which received £1,750,000 in the first round of funding and will get another £875,000 this time to help it reopen safely as well as theatre firm Lamp and Pencil who made the LED displays for hit musical Six and the wands used in Harry Potter. The Hertfordshire-based company will get £120,307. East London’s Whitechapel Gallery will receive £206,332, enabling it “to safely reopen” to visitors.

Sadler’s Wells also announced it had been successful in its application for a £4.25 million loan which it said would ensure “the survival” of the historic dance venue.  

Culture Secretary 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.”