Almost 20 arts and cultural organisations in the north-east have been given a share of the Scottish Government’s latest round of emergency Covid-19 funds, with £17 million being distributed nationally by Creative Scotland.
From dance centres and theatres to art organisations and production companies, the second round of the Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund (COVR) was designed to help prevent insolvency and/or significant job losses due to the impact of Covid-19.
In addition, the Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund (PAVR) is giving £8,560,406 to Scottish venues to help businesses remain solvent, return staff from furlough, and enable new artistic commissions from freelance artists.
A total of 19 Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire venues benefited from the two funds, with five north-east organisations receiving almost £1 million from the PAVR fund.
Aberdeen venues receive almost £1 million in further PAVR funding
Benefiting from the PAVR fund is Aberdeen Performing Arts – which operates His Majesty’s Theatre, the Music Hall and The Lemon Tree. The organisation received a further £500,000, more than any other Scottish venue apart from Capital Theatres – that owns Festival Theatre and Kings Theatre in Edinburgh – which also received the same sum.
An Aberdeen Performing Arts’ spokesperson said: “We are so grateful for the generous support we have received from Creative Scotland in what continues to be a very challenging time for our entire industry.”
Castlegate Arts Ltd (ACT Aberdeen) – Aberdeen Arts Centre – which was the first theatre to reopen in the north-east in late May – received £65,000.
Stephanie Walls, Aberdeen Arts Centre manager, was “thrilled” to have secured funding from Creative Scotland’s PAVR round 2.
She said: “This funding will help us continue our recovery as we emerge from Covid-19 restrictions and will empower us to continue to provide opportunities for our creative learning participants, local creatives and audiences alike.”
Tivoli Theatre Company Ltd was also one of the recipients of the grant, securing £200,000.
Caroline Morgan, managing director at The Tivoli Theatre said: “This money will mean we can retain our current staff, recruit part-time staff, bring our freelance technicians back to work and undertake all necessary requirements to reopen in a safe way at the end of August.
“We’re full steam ahead now with testing equipment, organising staff training, first aid training, implementing a new app for ordering and setting up hand-held scanners for ticketing and deep cleaning the building. We’ll also be able to support local youth groups who perform with us who have also had a really tough time of it. This funding is a lifeline, having been closed with no income for 17 months.”
Arts organisation ‘delighted’ to be one of the recipients
St.Margaret’s Trust was the recipient of £34,724 and Woodend Arts Ltd – operated by The Barn in Banchory – was supported with £145,000.
Colin Hunter, St Margaret’s trustee, said: “The grant will very much help accelerate us back to delivering an exciting programme of live events in this wonderful building in the centre of Braemar.
“We held our first public concert a couple of weeks ago with Michael Biggins and Canny Band. During lockdown, we have supported a number of north-east musicians by hosting virtual concerts.”
The Barn’s spokesperson said: “We are delighted to be one of the recipients of this Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund and very much look forward to sharing our plans with you in due course.”
Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said she was “delighted” this vital funding has started reaching the culture sector, which has “endured some of the most challenging restrictions over the past 18 months”.
She added: “It’s exciting that the sector can now plan for full reopening. The communal experience of being part of an audience cannot be replicated, and it has been sorely missed since the start of the pandemic.
Support coincides with the move to Level 0
“The move beyond level 0 will allow the sector to reopen fully, but I know that it will take some time to rebuild. This funding will play a key role in stabilising many venues and businesses as the sector begins to recover.
“The Scottish Government has provided almost £175 million of emergency support to the culture, heritage and events sector since the start of the pandemic, and I look forward now to working with the sectors to build for the future.”
Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund (COVR) recipients from the north-east are:
- Aberdeen Stage Crew Ltd (£10,000)
- Blu Inns Ltd (Jam Jar) (£59,000)
- Butchers Arms, Inverurie (£10,000)
- Citymoves Dance Agency SCIO (£47,000)
- Clara House Ltd (Caley Bar/Bar57) (£13,200)
- CLS Aberdeen (£25,000)
- George Walker Event Management Limited (£25,000)
- Mearns Community Radio Ltd (£10,000)
- S and G Aberdeen Ltd (Cheerz, Bardos/Cotton Club, The Lounge) (£40,000)
- Sets In Motion Limited (£11,000)
- Shazam Theatre Company (£10,000)
- The Epic Group (The Ministry/Paramount/The Priory) (£22,5000)