A lifeline for Weston’s Blakehay Theatre

Weston-super-Mare Town Council has been awarded £323,000 for the Blakehay Theatre as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

The Blakehay Theatre is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

The Blakehay Theatre is a small regional theatre which plays an important role in the landscape of the South West. The theatres uniquely diverse programme of locally produced and touring work is curated especially for our audience. Not only is the Blakehay Theatre an essential part of Weston-super-Mare Town Councils strategy, with heritage arts and culture one the 5 priority pillars, it is also essential to the North Somerset Council’s ten-year stratey for heritage arts and culture. The Blakehay Theatre is at the heart of a growing creative network in Weston which aims not only to be inclusive for all, but also actively encourage and educate our community about the importance of culture. This funding will enable the Blakehay Theatre to make adaptations to service provision and performances, without which the Blakehay Theatre would be unable to reopen. Without reopening, the theatre would be unable to stay financially viable. This funding enables physical changes to be made to the Blakehay and purchase equipment to ensure it is Covid safe, as well as make changes to the business plan which are vital during this unprecedented time.

Weston-super-Mare Town Council’s Heritage Arts and Culture Committee Chairman John Crockford-Hawley paid tribute to those who worked on the grant application, “My congratulations to Town Council officers who burned the midnight oil to get this application in on time during what I know was an incredibly short preparation time. It is a life line to the Blakehay Theatre’s survival.”

“We are absolutely thrilled for this news as not only will this help us now but it will ensure the future of the theatre,” said The Blakehay Theatre Manager, Sally Heath.

Weston-super-Mare Town Council Town Clerk Malcolm Nicholson also welcomed the award, “The Blakehay Theatre belongs to the people of Weston and through modest subsidy can showcase a wide range of dramatic and cultural arts events. We are delighted to have received this national level recognition of its value to the local community.”