Coronavirus: Performing Arts

Thank you for contacting me about support for the performing arts during coronavirus.

I regret the impact that coronavirus has had on performing arts in our country, and look forward to when our cultural sector can make a full return.  Ministers have worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to determine what should be done to support the sector.

In March, ACE announced a £160 million emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and support the resilience of this sector. This funding package will support organisations and individuals who need the most support to see them through this crisis. More details can be found on the Arts Council’s website https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19.  The funding allows for £90 million to be made available to National Portfolio Organisations and Creative People and Places lead organisations; £50 million is being made available to organisations that are not in receipt of regular funding from the Arts Council in order to maintain their survival through this crisis.  Finally £20 million of financial support is being made available to individuals, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months.

I welcome the establishment of the Entertainment and Events Working Group, which will be working with the arts sector to find innovative ways of re-opening as soon as possible. The Working Group will bring together representatives from theatres, performing arts and other creative organisations as well as medical advisors to develop advice and guidance on re-openings in line with phasing ambitions and public health directions. Its work will inform and support the Cultural Renewal taskforce which the Culture Secretary announced recently.

The Prime Minister has announced that from 4 July theatres will be able to re-open for rehearsal, pre-production and broadcast, although not yet for live performance with an audience.  This, alongside the work being done with representatives of the entertainment and events industry to develop supporting guidance, represents the first steps to recovery for our nations’ theatres.

The Secretary of State, Ministers and officials continue to consult the arts sector extensively to ensure they fully understand the financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector.  More support and guidance will be provided if it proves necessary.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.