THE BELGRADE Theatre has been awarded a £510,000 grant which will secure the venue’s current programme of work, including developing talent and educational schemes.
The cash – from the Garfield Weston Foundation’s Weston Culture Fund – comes after the toughest of years with theatres across the UK closed for much of the past 12 months.
Without the funding, which starts in April, the theatre’s engagement activities planned as part of Coventry’s UK City of Culture were at risk of not going ahead.
The Belgrade’s executive director Joanna Reid said everyone was hugely grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation for its approach to the crisis.
“It is extremely helpful to be offered funding to contribute to a year’s activity during these very turbulent times.
“The longer view gives our participation programmes much needed stability.
“We are thrilled to have won this award in a highly competitive field and feel it is testimony not only to the Belgrade’s strong track record but also to our ambitions for working with our communities during UK City of Culture”.
The cash is aimed at restarting work and helping theatres reopen, critical adaptations or improvements to physical or digital infrastructure, and new activity or adapting existing activity or programming to reach audiences.
The Garfield Weston Foundation’s director, Philippa Charles, added: “Our cultural sector is at the heart of our local communities providing not only entertainment but education and inspiration for many.”
She added the organisation’s trustees were impressed with the spirit shown across the arts in response to the Coronavirus crisis.
“We all want and need our cultural sector to thrive and, if anything, our time away from the arts has shown just how important they are to us – bringing much needed pleasure and enrichment to our lives.
“Arts organisations are desperate to re-open and get back to what they do best and we hope that this new funding will help many of them do exactly that.”
As part of the City of Culture programme, The Belgrade will be collaborating with D(d)eaf and disabled artists to ensure their voices are heard both this year and during and beyond 2022. It will also build on existing relationships with refugee and migrant communities and support work with people who suffer from mental health issues and homelessness.
And The Belgrade will undertake an inter-racial and mixed-heritage project which will ensure the legacy of the progress they make throughout the City of Culture year.
Other new activities also include utilising the digital space provided by the old Jaguar Pub on Corporation Street. This new and ambitious ‘basement’ space will provide a legacy for young people.
The Belgrade also strives to engage with vulnerable youth groups to prevent street crime and violence, build long-term partnerships with the most disadvantaged communities in the city, and support the rich creative talent of emerging artists in Coventry as new work develops.
Helen Hotchkiss, Head of Development at the Belgrade said: “The doors to our building may be temporarily closed, but our commitment to supporting the communities we serve continues.
“As a registered charity we are only able to offer a vast programme of education, community, and talent development activities, thanks to the kind support of our audiences, funders, members, and donors.
Visit www.belgrade.co.uk/support for more information.