Park Theatre has been awarded £35k in emergency funding from Arts Council England. Along with other monies raised since they closed their doors to the public on 18 March this counts towards a monumental fundraising effort led by the staff team.
Support from ACE comes at a point when Park Theatre’s public Go Fund Me campaign called ‘Park Life’ has reached 50% of its target of £100,000. This is the amount needed to fund a three-month reopening phase, once government support through the furlough scheme ends and theatres are told they can open again. The addition of the ACE grant will help fund staff salaries and help rebuild audiences prior to opening. Dependent on a reopening date, it offers Park Theatre the opportunity to safeguard some of its production fund, maintain a level of reserves and continue as much of its creative learning and community outreach activity as possible.
With social distancing realistically equating to a financial impossibility for theatres, the challenge now is not only the uncertainty of when venues can open again, but also whether there will be sufficient audiences confident enough to return to enjoy the shared experience that live performance offers.
Artistic Director Jez Bond says: “The response from the public at this time of crisis has been phenomenal and an incredible affirmation of the work we’ve done since opening seven years ago to establish our place in the local community. There has been a genuine outpouring of love and determination to help us survive that has considerably softened the blow of having to close for the foreseeable future.”
However, if reopening is postponed beyond the start of 2021 even more significant funds will need to be raised.
Jez Bond says ‘We feel grateful and fortunate to have been one of the organisations chosen to receive ACE funding at this time of crisis, but in reality it is still only a fraction of the investment needed from the government to ensure that the arts in this country survive the current pandemic.
There needs to be more government support to prevent permanent closures and we hope this will be forthcoming. In the meantime, we owe it to our 900+ donors who have supported us during lockdown, to the staff who have worked so tirelessly to build Park Theatre’s reputation over the last seven years, and to those who helped us build our theatre in Finsbury Park to survive this.”
The Park Life campaign will remain open for donations for as long as the theatre remains closed.
To make a donation go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/park-theatre