North Somerset arts organisation,Theatre Orchard, has received a grant of £67,037 from the second round of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help support the work of the organisation this Spring as lockdown measures are eased.

More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including Theatre Orchard, in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, announced by the Culture Secretary on 2 April.

The funding will enable Theatre Orchard to run a series of socially distanced outdoor performances in Weston-super-Mare providing vital paid opportunities for freelancers and artists. It will showcase a diverse range of local, regional and national work and bring some of the South West’s best theatre, dance, comedy, music and family shows to an exciting, outdoor location in the town centre.

As part of this, a community engagement programme is also planned for local groups including young people and families. During lockdown, Theatre Orchard has reached thousands of people of all ages through its digital offer, providing free, regular, online activities including youth theatre, creative writing, adult drama, dance, poetry, arts and crafts, storytelling and more. The funding will allow the organisation to build on this foundation, bringing new, outdoors cultural experiences and activities to people in the area.

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.”

Fiona Matthews, Creative Director at Theatre Orchard, said: “We are delighted to receive such a substantial funding boost which will enable the company to deliver more creative and cultural activity in Weston and across North Somerset.

“As lockdown eases, we are excited to start to bring our work back outdoors and in person, to open up more local community connections and contribute to the wider cultural landscape of the UK, artistically, socially and economically.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said:

“Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work. We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”

Weston, engagement, Culture Recovery Fund,