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£349,500 will be used to create theatre for the people - and keep a Cotswold cultural venue alive

Written by: Tony Davey, Stroud Chamber of Trade and Commerce | Posted 14 October 2020 8:23

£349,500 will be used to create theatre for the people - and keep a Cotswold cultural venue alive

As we revealed yesterday (October 13), the Arts Council has announced it is to give £4 million to Gloucester organisations – and one of those businesses are beginning to celebrate. 

The latest to reveal its reaction to the good news is Cirencester’s Barn Theatre, which has been awarded £349,500. 

All of the investment in the county, which includes to Cheltenham Literature Festival, The Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury and The Three Choirs Festival Association, is from the Government's £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

We ran a feature-length interview with Barn Theatre boss Iwan Lewis earlier this month about the full-on battle to keep the popular venue going, and the news of the money has come as a welcome and unexpected bonus.

Read more: "They will have to drag me out of this theatre. We will keep it open"

Mr Lewis, artistic director and chief executive officer, said, “I’m absolutely thrilled with the news that we have received funding from the Culture Recovery Fund.



“The most we’ve ever had in subsidy came from the first tranche of ACE support £30k – for that to go up to £350k, knowing what we can do with that and what we can produce is amazing. 

“Did the fact that we’ve done so much during lockdown help? I can’t help but think it had to help, because nobody really knew who we were before then. 

“This figure reflects how much it costs to run a building but there is only one point in running a building which is to put on the work, otherwise it's a pretty bunch of bricks. 

“We can all go to the Roman Coliseum to see work not happening and it looks nice but I don’t care about the bricks and mortar, theatre is about people. That money has only one purpose really – to create theatre.” 

The Barn Theatre is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving what has been described as urgently needed support. 

So far £257 million of investment has been announced as part of the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. 

The Barn Theatre is one of 12 diverse Gloucestershire arts and culture organisations that have been confirmed by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Arts Council England to benefit from a share of the Culture Recovery Fund. 

Without the support the fear would be at least some of the organisations would not survive in to 2021 and support the army of freelancers withing the industry. 

The Barn Theatre has been conspicuous by its innovation throughout the lockdown, not least with its live-streaming service for both the local community and international audiences including series’ with Tweedy the Clown, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Cotswold District Council and Dr Dawn Harper and featuring special guests including Helena Bonham Carter, Hugh Bonneville, Reece Shearsmith and Daisy May Cooper.  

In a statement the theatre said it “would like to extend thanks to the Cotswolds MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown for all his support for the theatre in Parliament as well as the local councils, communities and members of the theatre industry that have shown their support for the Barn Theatre during this unprecedented time. 

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP, (pictured above with Iwan lewis) said: “This is thoroughly well deserved for the Barn as from the very beginning of lockdown they were highly innovative. 

They were one of the first theatres to put on an outdoor show with Tweedy the clown, even with social distancing in place the children who attended were enthralled. Credit must go to the Barn Theatre for continually innovating and promoting their worthy case. 

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