The Bread & Roses Theatre is one of 588 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support – with £76 million of investment announced today. This follows £257 million awarded earlier in the week to 1,385 organisations, also from the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.
The Bread & Roses Theatre is a fringe venue, which opened in 2014 above The Bread & Roses Pub in Clapham (South London). Artistic quality, equality and representation of our society's real diversity are at the forefront of the theatre's programming, which features visiting companies as well as in-house productions, with a focus on new writing, underrepresented voices and distinctive work. The Bread & Roses Theatre has always aimed to support theatremakers as much as possible by providing box office split deals, keeping overheads and running costs as low as possible and thereby, so far, surviving on mainly ticket sales alone. However, this meant that the impact of the necessary Covid-19 measures and restrictions has hit the theatre particularly hard, with extremely limited resources to fall back on.
After an initial lifeline from Lambeth Culture and Arts at Risk funding package that helped the venue through the spring/summer closure, the grant from the Culture Recovery Fund will now support The Bread & Roses Theatre in continuing its work and outreach in the months ahead. Currently the theatre is open under strict physical distancing and hygiene measures, as well as with a very limited seating capacity. Now The Bread & Roses Theatre can continue its support towards visiting companies, has some more security for in-house projects and outreach programmes aimed at emerging and underrepresented artists, and thus can carry on providing audiences and artists with innovative events and programming.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.
“These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”
Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Culture is an essential part of life across the country, helping to support people’s wellbeing through creativity and self-expression, bringing communities together, and fuelling our world class creative industries.
“This latest set of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund builds on those announced recently and will help hundreds of organisations to survive the next few months, ensuring that the cultural sector can bounce back after the crisis. We will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations, with further funding to be announced in the coming weeks.”
Rebecca Pryle, Tessa Hart & Velenzia Spearpoint, Co-Directors of The Bread & Roses Theatre, said: “We are so grateful for this lifeline grant and all the support received throughout this challenging time, as when the arts are under threat, they become more important than ever. Just like many of the artists we work with, we have not followed the established paths, but paved our own, and continue to do so; nowadays even working across countries and Brexit borders.
We now gear up to move forward with even more strength and creativity, to break through ceilings and barriers, to make sure that Black lives matter, to keep learning and improving and questioning and challenging ourselves and to do everything we can to keep fringe theatre alive, diverse and exciting.”