Historic Royal Palaces and Royal Albert Hall among £165m loan recipients

The National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Opera House will also receive the loans.

Historic Royal Palaces and the Royal Albert Hall are among the recipients of £165 million worth of Government loans.

The National Theatre, Southbank Centre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Opera House and English National Opera will also be receiving the loans.

The package, for arts and heritage organisations, is the latest round of funding from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This Government promised it would be here for culture and today’s announcement is proof we’ve kept our word.

“The £1 billion invested so far through the Culture Recovery Fund has protected tens of thousands of jobs at cultural organisations across the UK, with more support still to come through a second round of applications.

“Today we’re extending a huge helping hand to the crown jewels of UK culture so that they can continue to inspire future generations all around the world.”

Olivia Colman welcomed the funding
Olivia Colman welcomed the funding (Ian West/PA)

Some 11 “nationally and internationally significant organisations that demonstrated opportunities to engage local communities through education and outreach programmes” have been offered the loans.

Historic Royal Palaces, whose sites include the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace, is receiving £40 million.

Its chief executive John Barnes said: “After a difficult year, news of this loan comes as a great relief…

“As a self-funding charity dependent on visitor income, our finances have been decimated by the pandemic.

“The scale of the losses we have faced has been so significant that, at times, the future of our charity has been uncertain.

“This loan is the lifeline we need to begin our recovery.

“It will help us to cover our losses this year, after using all our reserves, and the further losses we expect to face in 2021, until we are able to support ourselves again.”

It is “confident in our ability to repay the loan from the income that we will generate in better times”, he said.

The National Theatre will receive £19.7 million as it reopens.

Screen star Olivia Colman, who starred in Mosquitoes at the theatre, said: “Theatre is at the heart of Britain’s creativity and the National Theatre is a crucial part of that, whether working with young people across the country or making shows to thrill global audiences.

“Alongside the grants to smaller theatres, it’s wonderful to hear that the NT’s future is being supported by this lifeline loan.”

Last night of the proms 2020
Royal Albert Hall lit up for the last night of The Proms (Mark Allan/BBC/PA)

The Royal Albert Hall in London is receiving £20.7 million in Government loans.

The venue’s chief executive Craig Hassall said: “This is a lifeline that will help us get back on our feet after the devastating effects of the last nine months.

“As an independent charity with no regular government funding, we have had no significant income since we closed our doors on 17 March.

“We have foregone around £30 million revenue, refunded £8.9 million of tickets and burned through our reserves. ”

He said the Royal Albert Hall was a place where “people come together, and it will be needed more than ever after this period of upheaval and isolation”.

English National Opera gets a loan of £8.5 million, while the Royal Opera House is receiving  £21.7 million and the Southbank Centre £10.9 million.

The financing takes the total allocated from the Culture Recovery Fund to over £1 billion.

The remainder will be available for organisations “who are at imminent risk of collapse before the end of this financial year”.

Other recipients include Michael Harrison Entertainment – whose West End musicals include Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium – which receives a loan of £4.5 million.

Further investment for capital projects hit by the pandemic has also been awarded to 74 arts organisations across the country, including the Turner Contemporary in Margate, The Factory in Manchester and Nottingham’s Broadway.

The Government said 75% of these grants have been awarded to organisations outside of London.

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