Incredible £395,000 lifeline for Harrogate Theatre
Harrogate Theatre is celebrating an incredible £395,000 cash lifeline from the Arts Council in its financial battle for survival.
The theatre's chief executive David Bown said they were "incredibly relieved and grateful" for the substantial award from Arts Council England's Covid-19 fund but said the money would only take this much-loved arts hub through to September.
Mr Bown said: "We're chuffed on quite a few levels and relieved in so many more.
"What an incredible week it's been. My phone at home when berserk with people congratulating us when word got out.
"We are very grateful to the Arts Council. We've received the sort of award that bigger theatres in cities have got.
"It's a tribute to all our hard work and success and a real statement from the Arts Council of how important it thinks Harrogate Theatre is and recognition of our vital importance to the Harrogate district's economy."
The theatre has been working on its bid for emergency relief from Arts Council England for weeks, well before the Government's announcement this week of its £1.57 billion rescue package for the nation's arts and culture sector.
But Mr Bown said the theatre has been losing so much money since it had to cancel or postpone all its shows for lockdown that it was still vital that the "fantastic generosity" of Harrogate people continued towards its own Emergency Appeal.
He said: "The award is amazing but it's stil only a drop in the ocean compared to the money we lost when we closed even though we have staff furloughed.
"Until this point, it's only been the fantastic generosity of Harrogate towards the theatre that has kept us from closing down.
"The Arts Council grant will only keep us going until September and we still desperately need everyone's support."
In terms of Harrogate Theatre's financial survival - even after the Arts Council's award - it's all down to panto.
Will the Government budge on reopening theatres in time for the festive season when most regional venues rely on the success of Cinderella or Jack and the Beanstalk?
How to support Harrogate Theatre
Donate to the Emergency Appeal via www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk;
Join Harrogate Theatre’s membership scheme;
Buy tickets for future shows - or don’t claim a refund on tickets for cancelled shows.
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