Suffolk theatre and arts given £1million Government cash boost

The Regal Stowmarket

David Marsh, at the Regal in Stowmarket said the support from the Culture Recovery Fund had enabled the venue to expand its offering. (Left to right: Billie King, Bethany Couch, David Marsh, Lauren Bunce). - Credit: William Jupp

Eleven Suffolk arts organisations hit by the Covid pandemic restrictions have been awarded more than £1million in Government cash as part of the Culture Recovery Fund.

The largest amount given in the county was £320,417 to the Spa Pavilion theatre at Felixstowe, while £200,000 was awarded to Scenic Projects, and £142,000 to the Marina Theatre Trust, both based in Lowestoft.

The Regal at Stowmarket was among the local organisations to receive a cash injection - receiving £58,154.

David Marsh, events and theatre manager, said: "Our much appreciated support from the Culture Recovery Fund has allowed us to continue to grow our cinema offering to the area.

The Regal Stowmarket outside under lights

The Regal, Stowmarket was amongst the local organisations to benefit from the Governments Culture Recovery Fund - Credit: William Jupp

"The additional safeguarding measures it afforded us to put in place have helped give our community the confidence to return to The Regal and in turn support many of our neighbouring hospitality businesses."

Mr Marsh thanked grant distributor the British Film Institute (BFI) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport for their support.

The cast of Red Rose Chain's Christmas Show, Treasure Island. Photos: Bill Jackson

The cast of Red Rose Chain in a previous Christmas production of Treasure Island. A new online production becomes available on December 17. - Credit: Bill Jackson

Ben Roberts, chief executive of the BFI, said: “Traditionally, this time of year brings a wealth of culture to the big screen for people up and down the country as local cinemas offer seasonal classics, and new British films and blockbusters.

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"The Culture Recovery Fund has been vital to the survival and recovery of independent cinemas, enabling them to contribute to their high streets and communities, and crucially be there to welcome back their audiences.”

The Red Rose Chain, an independent theatre company that delivers a professional and community programme, received £97,487.

Each year its Theatre in the Forest attracts more than 8,000 people, and its inclusive youth theatre engages with disadvantaged and disabled young people.

Out Loud Music CIC, which runs The Smokehouse, the only dedicated live music venue in Ipswich, was awarded £34,410.

The Spa Pavilion is under new management, Dan Wood Operations Director and his team

The Spa Pavilion is under new management, Dan Wood Operations Director and his team - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

As well as providing audiences with the chance to see up and coming and established artists right on their doorstep, the team also supply their venue and expertise to a wide variety of local groups – from rock schools and community engagement projects, through to SEN groups and volunteer organisations.

Joe Bailey, CEO, Out Loud Music said: "Out Loud Music are really pleased to have received funding via Arts Council England and DCMS for the Culture Recovery Fund. Without this, we would really struggle to continue our unique work in Ipswich, providing original live music performance, opportunities for volunteering, and paid work within our organisation.

"Coming off the back of Sound City Ipswich in October, it was essential to keep up the momentum bringing culture and music back to our town and this grant means we can plan and program into the new year ensuring local artists, up and coming bands and established artists can come to our venues and enrich local life."

Other organisations to receive the funding are the Alexander Whitney Dance Company (£78,665), Beccles Public Hall (£35,000), the East Anglia Transport Museum (£25,000), The Long Shop Museum CIO (£26,735) and The Original Theatre Company (£94,000).