13 arts organisations across Oxfordshire have received almost £2 million as a share of grants from the Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today. 

Among those to receive the lifeline grants are The Oxford Playhouse Trust which received £458,000, The Theatre Chipping Norton with a £144,154 grant, and Arts at the Old Fire Station which has been awarded £96,420.

“This funding is an incredible lifeline to secure our recovery”

Other organisations to receive funding are: The Oxfordshire Science Festival: £74,929, The Oxford Chamber Music Foundation: £50,000, Aesop Arts Society: £200,000, Spacial Installations: £228,000, The Bullingdon: £212,621, Fusion Arts Oxford: £86,306, Modern Art Oxford: £91,000, The Museum of Oxford: £80,731, The Story Museum: £170, 000 and The Mad Hatter: £50,000.

They are among 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. 

Oxford Playhouse has been awarded £458,026 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).  The grant will help Oxford Playhouse Trust, the charity that runs the venue, to survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and work towards fully reopening the theatre in 2021.  The funding, which will be administered through Arts Council England (ACE), will help the theatre to survive in the short term, engaging with its audiences and the communities it serves.  

Louise Chantal and Vanessa Lefrancois, Joint Directors and CEOs, Oxford Playhouse commented: “We are incredibly grateful for the Government and ACE support that has been awarded to Oxford Playhouse today.   This funding is a much-needed lifeline which enables Oxford Playhouse to sustain its hugely talented and experienced team; to ensure we are ready to welcome back artists and audiences as soon as possible    Oxford Playhouse contributes directly and indirectly over £13 million to the local economy every year. This grant is a wise investment in the economic and cultural future of Oxford and is testament to the beneficial cultural and social impact the Playhouse has within the region and the arts industry.  

We know the months ahead may not be easy, but as we move forward, we will continue to work innovatively, to deliver our Meanwhile programme of live and streamed events, to keep our audiences connected, to deliver our extensive participation programme within our schools and communities, to nurture and support artists and creativity, and to continue to champion the inclusive values of Oxford Playhouse, which are needed now more than ever.

“As well as thanking all of those who have worked so hard to deliver the Culture Recovery Fund for arts organisations across the UK, Oxford Playhouse would like to thank the incredible support it has received from its audiences and supporters.  The theatre will continue to promote the Playhouse Plays On appeal, to secure the future of our well-loved theatre for generations to come.”

Jeremy Spafford, Director, Arts at the Old Fire Station said:“We are over the moon to receive this funding. The Old Fire Station is a unique centre for creativity, with our theatre, gallery, shop and studios running a lively and vibrant programme of all different kinds of artistic work, which is woven in amongst all of the amazing work Crisis do to support people experiencing homelessness in the building we share together. 

Oxford Playhouse will also receive a grant. Picture by Ed Nix

“Our organisation’s work has become a way for people to find solace, joy, and connection during good times and bad. It is needed now more than ever, and the Old Fire Station can play a significant role in Oxford’s recovery from this crisis.

“Oxford needs the Old Fire Station because it is about openness, inclusion, looking forward and different thinking – it acts as a bridge between sectors, organisations and people.

“This will make a huge difference to The Theatre, its community andits staff. It enables us to retain the vast majority of our staff through until the Spring, as well as running costs”

“We are here to produce and present work across art forms, help people to be creative, support artists, include people who are facing tough times because of disadvantage, and work with communities across Oxford.”

George Street which houses Old Fire Station. Picture by Ed Nix

“This funding is an incredible lifeline to secure our recovery. Our hope now is that the community and our friends will stick by us to make sure we have a long future making Oxford a better place for everyone.”

John Terry Director at The Theatre Chipping Norton added: “We are delighted to announce that The Theatre has been awarded the full grant of £144,000 from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

“the last few months have had a devastating impact on our income”

“This will make a huge difference to The Theatre, its community and, in particular, its staff. It enables us to retain, albeit on reduced hours, the vast majority of our staff through until the Spring, as well as supporting running costs during this period.

The Theatre Chipping Norton

“We are a relatively commercial organisation, providing enormous social benefit in our town and the wider region. As such, the last few months have had a devastating impact on our income.

“This funding gives us all hope of returning to the local and regional cultural powerhouse that we can be, and bringing people together to laugh, cry, think and be entertained amongst their friends and neighbours.

“There are a lot of very relieved staff today, who not only know that they have some paid employment for the next six months, but also feel that a vote of support and confidence has been made in the venue and the industry. That in itself counts hugely.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery. 

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”



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