Theatre company’s joy at Covid-19 grant lifeline

Pioneer by Curious Directive at Shoreditch Town Hall Picture: RICHARD DAVENPORT

Pioneer by Curious Directive at Shoreditch Town Hall Picture: RICHARD DAVENPORT - Credit: Richard Davenport

An international touring theatre company has been given a timely cash boost as it battles through the fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

Norwich-based curious directive has benefited from a New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership scheme set up to help businesses through Covid-19.

Shows put on by the company explore life through the lens of science and have been performed in more than 100 venues across the world.

MORE – Lawyers pledge free support to businesses firefighting through pandemicThe company is in the process of transforming a medieval church on Elm Hill in Norwich into a sanctuary, laboratory and engine room for creating ground-breaking theatre projects. This will bring all its activities under one roof, including The Nave, a co-working space for creative freelances.

Money from the LEP’s Business Resilience & Recovery Scheme will help progress the projects. Artistic director Jack Lowe said the grant had enabled it to stabilise its income streams and improve accessibility, including a new pop-up bar starting in July.

“Like all business and industry, the arts are experiencing an incredibly difficult time. Theatre will be one of the last services to re-open its doors,” he said.

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“As a small touring theatre company bringing in business from as far as South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore, this local support from the LEP for curious directive is incredibly timely.”

The LEP launched the scheme in April to provide grants to support short-term business resilience projects and longer-term recovery and diversification projects.

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Chris Starkie, chief executive of the LEP, said: “We have a strong and vibrant cultural sector in this region which is being impacted by the pandemic, so I’m pleased we have been able to help this innovative theatre company.”

The grant will enable the company to improve its rehearsal and performance space, welcome more audience members and make its heritage building more accessible.

“I’d encourage any business which is reviewing its processes, considering investing in new equipment or which needs support to reopen to speak to one of our business advisers at the New Anglia Growth Hub,” said Mr Starkie.

The New Anglia Growth Hub provides free, impartial support for businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk. Call 0300 333 6536 or email

For information about the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme, visit here

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