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Harrogate Theatre welcomes £1.5bn government funding for arts industry

Harrogate Theatre welcomes £1.5bn government funding for arts industry

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 6:50am 7th July 2020.

The venue's chief executive has described the announcement as a 'relief'.

  • Harrogate Theatre's boss has told us the money announced by the government is 'very good and unexpected news'.
  • Their own fundraising appeal has now brought in over £60,000
  • After shutting their doors in late March, it's still not clear when the theatre will be able to re-open.

Harrogate Theatre has welcomed yesterday's government announcement of over £1.5bn of funding for the arts industry, with the venue's chief executive described it as a 'relief', and 'very good and unexpected news'.

The news comes as the theatre's own fundraising appeal tops the £60,000 figure, thanks to in part to a recent donation from the famous Yorkshire playwright John Godber.

Speaking about their emergency appeal, Harrogate Theatre chief executive David Bown said:

"I had a phone call from John Godber, who tipped it over the £60,000 mark for us. People have been amazing, I've come into work and people have just pushed cheques through the cracks in the doors! We're very, very grateful and humbled by the amount."




Harrogate Theatre


David described the government's furlough scheme as a 'great relief', saying he was 'struggling to see how we could make this work' without it.

But despite the re-opening of shops, pubs and restaurants in England in recent weeks, there's still no certainty as to when venues like Harrogate Theatre can open their doors again.

Looking ahead to what things will look like when they are able to re-open, David accepts theatres pose a particular problem for social distancing, describing them as the 'antithesis' of it.

He also spoke about another concern for the near future:

"The other thing is public confidence, do people want to come back into a confined space until there's a vaccine or credible treatment? We have quite an old demographic for some of our shows, and I suspect they still feel very vulnerable."


Harrogate Theatre panto 2019 webpage 2
Last year's pantomime at Harrogate Theatre