Friday, February 23

Theatres Trust supports 40 more UK theatres become Covid-safe in final round of Reopening Fund Grants

Theatres Trust supports 40 more theatres with final Theatre Reopening Fund grants

The national public advisory body for theatre has awarded a further £155,265 of grants to help theatres with costs of Covid-secure reopening, including changes to the building to reduce congestion, improvements to ventilation systems and simple measures like installing hand sanitisers and screens.

The theatres supported reflect the vital elements that make up the theatre ecosystem with awards made to significant producing theatres – Hampstead Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Theatre Royal Bath – major receiving houses Capital Theatres and Worthing Theatres, venues specialising in dance (Northern Ballet), new writing (Traverse, New Diorama, Gate Theatre) and one of the country’s few puppet theatres, Upfront Theatre. Community theatres across the country have received grants, including young people-focused Blue Elephant Theatre and Hanger Farm Arts Centre, which works with people with learning disabilities.

Theatres Trust has also given grants to help reopen every type of theatre building, including the country’s last remaining Regency theatre, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, theatres in converted cinemas (People’s Theatre and Blackburn Empire) and former churches (Headgate Theatre and Lowestoft Players Theatre), pub theatres (Jack Studio Theatre), outdoor theatre (Rutland Open Air) and even a travelling theatre – Paines Plough.

Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan says, “we are beginning to look forward to a time when theatres can reopen, welcome audiences back inside and continue to play a vital role in their communities. It has been a difficult year, but Theatres Trust is pleased to have been able to support so many theatres through this grant scheme as well as our free advice service and the #SaveOurTheatres Crowdfunding campaign”.

The Theatre Reopening Fund was launched in June 2020 in response to the pandemic. Through this scheme, Theatres Trust has supported 75 theatres across the length and breadth of the UK, with grants totalling £301,873.

The Theatre Reopening Fund has been made possible thanks to the generous support of funders: Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Charles Michael Holloway Charitable Trust, Judy Craymer CBE, Soho Estates, The Basil Samuel Charitable Trust, The Foyle Foundation, The Mackintosh Foundation, The Pilgrim Trust, The Swire Charitable Trust, Theatre Royal Haymarket, and Theatre Super Auction.

Theatre Reopening Fund recipients

The Albany, London, £5,000

The Albany in Deptford is a hub for the creative industries with a theatre at its heart. The project funded is to replace the existing ineffectual fans with new fans that will supply fresh air to the venue’s toilets, which is particularly important in providing the spread of Covid-19.

The Albert Hall Theatre, Llandrindod Wells, £2,835

Housed in an 1896 Grade II listed hall, this amateur theatre will make improvements to the queuing systems and front of house area to support social distancing, including signage, barriers, improved external lighting and a new front of house counter with a screen.

Blackburn Empire Theatre, £2,037

The Theatre Reopening Scheme grant will pay for the protective screens, a ticket scanner and sanitisation supplies in this converted 1910 cinema building.

Blue Elephant Theatre, London, £5,000

Mechanical ventilation will be installed in the auditorium of this young people-focused fringe venue in Camberwell.

Bromley Little Theatre, £5,000

Housed in a converted Victorian Bakery, Bromley Little Theatre was established in 1938. Improvements will be made to the ventilation in this amateur theatre by installing a grill and fan.

Brookside Theatre, Romford, £4,715

An independent theatre based in a memorial hall, Brookside Theatre will make both front-of-house and backstage areas Covid-secure with custom-made Perspex screens for the box office, kiosk and dressing rooms as well as installing retractable crowd barriers, hand sanitising stations and signage.

Brookside theatre, Romford

Canal Café Theatre, London, £2,714

The Theatre Reopening Fund grant will fund an extension to the venue’s balcony to allow social distancing, PPE purchase and improvements to the box office at this active comedy, cabaret and theatre venue.

Capital Theatres, Edinburgh, £4,750

The Theatre Reopening Fund grant will pay for 25 hand sanitising stations across the three prestigious Edinburgh theatres, King’s Theatre, Festival Theatre and The Studio, both front of house and backstage. It will also fund the installation of non-contact taps in the front-of-house toilets, reducing the amount of touch points.

Fife Cultural Trust, £2,491

Funding will buy hand sanitiser, masks and Perspex screens for three of the theatres operated by Fife Cultural Trust, including Category B listed Carnegie Hall.

Gate Theatre, £2,050

An intimate theatre space above a pub, the Gate has a strong reputation for producing international theatre. The grant will fund Covid-secure measures including purchasing Perspex screens and a hand-sanitising station.

Geoffrey Whitworth Theatre, Crayford, Kent, £3,000

This independent amateur theatre will install Perspex screens and purchase thermometers, masks and face shields to make it Covid-secure.

Grimsby Auditorium, £4,699

With a seated audience capacity of 1,200, the Grimsby Auditorium is the largest professional theatre in Lincolnshire. This project will automate additional entry and exit doors to the venue, to remove the need for contact and reduce congestion and queues.

Hampstead Theatre, £2,440

Hampstead Theatre is a major producing theatre. The grant will go towards signage to make the building Covid-secure.

Hampstead Theatre

Hanger Farm Arts Centre, Southampton, £4,700

This community theatre based in a converted 18th century barn is run by a local charity that works closely with people with learning disabilities, providing opportunities for work experience. The funding will purchase Perspex dividers, masks, visors and tape to encourage social distancing.

Headgate Theatre, Colchester, £5,000

A Grade II listed congregational church converted to theatre use in 2001, the theatre produces its own amateur shows as well as presenting a range of professional music and community productions. The grant will fund a package of measures including installing a glass screen around main foyer box office desk and Perspex screens in lighting/sound gallery, purchasing a fogging machine and upgrading ventilation.

Hull Truck Theatre, £5,000

The Theatre Reopening Fund grant will pay for repairs to the ventilation system in this purpose-built theatre-in-the-round.

Lancaster Grand, £4,232

Built in 1782, the Grand is a Grade II listed theatre with a 1897 stage extension and fly tower by leading theatre architect Frank Matcham. Screens and an intercom will be installed at the box office to reduce the need for face-to-face contact.

Lighthouse, Poole, £4,950

The purpose-built Lighthouse in Poole opened in 1978, incorporating a concert hall, theatre, studio and cinema. The grant will fund the purchase of free-standing temperature sensors.

Lowestoft Players Theatre, £4,920

The amateur theatre group will create a new double door accessway from the bar area into the auditorium in its 1899 converted chapel.

Lyric Hammersmith, £3,900

A leading producing theatre in a reconstructed Frank Matcham auditorium, the Lyric will complete a package of Covid-secure works including installing Perspex units, hand sanitisation stations and anti-bacterial door handles.

Jack Studio Theatre, London, £4,839

The fringe pub theatre has been awarded a grant to cover installing wall vents to create fresh air flow at all times, improvements to toilet ventilation and the purchase of fogging equipment.

The Muni, Colne, £3,583

Operated by Pendle Leisure Trust, the Muni is an Edwardian municipal hall that hosts a programme of professional family and music events alongside community shows. The Theatre Reopening Fund will support the purchase of protective screens, queue barriers and sanitisation supplies.

New Diorama, London, £5,000

The innovative theatre supports new writing and emerging theatre companies. Its café operator ceased trading during lockdown and the removal of the equipment damaged the front-of-house area. The theatre is taking this opportunity to redesign the space to be more accessible and this funding would focus on creating an accessible bar.

New Diorama

Northern Ballet, Leeds, £2,328

The Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre is a 232-seat space in the Northern Ballet Complex. The grant will fund a package of measures including protective screens, sanitizers, foggers and handheld thermometers.

Paines Plough, £5,000

Paines Plough produces and tours new plays nationally using its innovative travelling theatre tent Roundabout, which has degraded due to the prolonged period in storage. Funding will support repairs that will enable the theatre to go on tour when allowed in 2021.

People’s Theatre, Newcastle, £5,000

Housed in a converted cinema, the People’s Theatre is a large amateur theatre which has recently undergone a transforming capital project. Unfortunately the new rehearsal space was not fitted with fresh air ventilation and this grant will support the installation of new supply and extract.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre, £4,700

To allow the producing work to continue Pitlochry Festival Theatre applied for a package of covid-secure equipment to allow the safe programming of work indoors and outdoors when restrictions permitted.

The Point, Eastleigh, £1,395

A regional powerhouse for contemporary dance, aerial and circus, theatre and combined arts, The Point is owned and managed by Eastleigh Borough Council. A range of Covid-secure measures will be implemented including installing fire door retainers to reduce surface touching and barriers to improve distancing.

Regis Centre, Bognor Regis, £3,617

Tower Theatre is an active amateur dramatics group based in a former Methodist chapel. Funding will cover a package of works including sneeze screens cut to fit the control desk and bar areas.

Rutland Open Air Theatre, Stamford, £2,364

Stamford Shakespeare Company presents an annual summer season of amateur Shakespeare and classics in the Rutland Open Air Theatre located in the grounds of Grade II* listed Tolethorpe Hall. The grant will fund hand sanitisation stations, hand sanitiser, a fogging machine and disinfectant fogger.

Rutland Open Air Theatre

Sheringham Little Theatre, £5,000

One of the last remaining summer rep theatres, Sheringham Little Theatre presents a professional summer season with community use the rest of the year. An external canopy will be installed to allow outside queuing that will not only help with social distancing while required but will have a long-lasting benefit for the theatre.

Theatre Royal Bath, £5,000

Theatre Royal Bath is a Grade II* listed building by leading theatre architect CJ Phipps and one of the oldest working theatres in the country. Funding will support making Ustinov Studio and the Egg, the venue’s space for children’s theatre, Covid-secure in line with its fully risk-assessed approach to reopening.

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, £5,000

Built in 1891, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is Grade I listed and the last working Regency playhouse in the country. The grant will fund commissioning of a secondary air handling unit to improve fresh air flow to the building, as well as the purchase of screens, hand sanitiser stations and antibacterial spray.

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, £5,000

Scotland’s new writing theatre with a national and international reputation will go paperless in its purpose-built theatre, purchasing a set of e-ticketing scanners.

Tynemouth Priory Theatre, £1,500

Originally a Wesleyan chapel, Tynemouth Priory opened as a theatre in 1972. The grant will fund a package of protective measures including hand sanitiser, masks, cleaning supplies and Perspex screens in the amateur theatre.

Upfront Puppet Theatre, Penrith, £4,750

One of the country’s few dedicated puppet theatres, Upfront will install window openers to allow controlled natural ventilation and the purchase of new seats to create socially distanced layouts.

Venture Theatre, Ashby De La Zouch, £5,000

The Theatre Reopening Fund grant will enable improvements to be made to the ventilation in this amateur theatre, introducing free air ventilation into the auditorium.

Warminster Athenaeum, £3,522

This community arts centre based in a Grade II listed building will carry out a range of work including installing screens, sanitisers and improving its ventilations in preparation for audiences returning.

Worthing Theatres, £1,834

Worthing Theatres comprises three Grade II listed receiving houses, the Connaught Theatre, Assembly Hall and Pavilion Theatre. A package of measures including screens and antibacterial foggers will be funded.

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, £1,400

Built in 1963 with a studio space added in 2003, Yvonne Arnaud is a mid-scale producing theatre with a strong history of touring. Funding is for the purchase of antibacterial fogging machines.

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Theatres Trust

Theatres Trust is the national advisory public body for theatres. We believe that current and future generations should have access to good quality theatre buildings where they can be inspired by, and enjoy, live performance. We champion the future of live performance by protecting and supporting excellent theatre buildings which meet the needs of their communities. We do this by providing advice on the design, planning, development and sustainability of theatres, campaigning on behalf of theatres old and new and offering financial assistance through grants.

Theatres Trust’s advice service offers free support to theatre owners, operators, local authorities and campaign groups trying to save their local theatre. Specialist advisers offer advice on issues including business planning, fundraising, essential business maintenance capital projects, viability and planning. During the pandemic Theatres Trust has supported theatres with advice on building maintenance, funding applications and business planning, as well as organising free webinars.

#SaveOurTheatres is the umbrella fundraising campaign, in partnership with Crowdfunder, which is enabling theatres to raise money to secure their futures. To date the campaign has raised more than £1.5 million to help around 80 theatres