11th Nov 2020 in Arts

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has confirmed that four flagship arts organisations have been offered additional funding support totalling almost £620,000.

Money has been awarded to The Lyric Theatre, the MAC, Crescent Arts Centre and the Ulster Orchestra to help them prepare and plan for reopening, following closures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The funding, which will be administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, is part of a range of measures supported by COVID emergency funding from the Department for Communities to support the arts, culture, heritage and language sectors, which have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

The four organisations which will benefit from today’s announcement are all facing major deficit costs heading into 2021. Current restrictions have resulted in significant losses of income and an uncertain future ahead. The grants will provide a much-needed lifeline, providing financial stability and enabling them to meet the significant costs of reopening to staff, professionals and public, by ensuring they comply with all measures set out by Government protocols relating to safety under COVID-19.

As a result of the Departments support,

• The Lyric will receive £174,804
• The MAC will receive £157,520
• Crescent Arts Centre will receive £25,590
• Ulster Orchestra will receive £261,850

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said:

“I am pleased to see offers being made to help in the preparations for the safe reopening of our venues when the time is right.  We miss visiting our venues in person and this £619k funding package for the MAC, the Crescent Arts Centre, Ulster Orchestra and the Lyric Theatre will help them survive and thrive and to be ready to welcome back audiences, when it is safe to do so.”

Arts Council Chief Executive Roisin McDonough commented:

“These four organisations are major employers in the arts sector and, in the case of the MAC and The Crescent, a home for other arts companies too. They are at the very heart of creative and cultural life in Northern Ireland and a hub for people to come together to enjoy the many benefits that the arts bring to our lives.

“In addition to their core staff, they contract hundreds of freelancers throughout the year, providing employment for artists, actors, performers, technical staff and back stage crew. This funding will alleviate some of the burden they are currently facing, helping them to effectively plan ahead for welcoming back audiences, performances and events as soon as it is safe and possible.”

The MAC’s chief executive, Anne McReynolds added:

“We very much welcome the announcement from the Arts Council that the MAC will receive £157,520 in emergency funding and we acknowledge the work by Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín in bringing this forward.  The doors of venues across the region closed over 6 months ago; our stages and galleries have been silent and empty since then.  Freelancers and artists who rely on shows, festivals and events lost their livelihoods overnight and we still do not have a date or plan for when theatres, music venues and community arts spaces across NI will all be able to perform to live audiences again.  The MAC, like others, has felt the overwhelming impact of this public health crisis and we now look forward to working with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and our colleagues across the whole sector, to get back on our feet.”

Keep In Touch

Get our weekly update on the latest and greatest news and events straight to your inbox.