Relief for Hull Truck bosses as future secured by funding lifeline

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The future of Hull Truck has been secured following the Government’s announced of a £1.57bn package to help cultural venues.

Oliver Dowden said grants and loans would aim to preserve “crown jewels” in the arts sector, and many local venues.

It follows several weeks of pressure, with industry leaders warning that many venues were on the brink of collapse.

Hull Truck has been closed since March due to the coronavirus lockdown with no income and no date yet for when it can reopen.

It is in the same boat as other theatres across the country and announced last month it would not reopen until at least November.

Bosses previously said it had a “sustainable financial plan” in place to get through the lockdown which included furloughing staff.

But, while never admitting it’s future is in doubt, it is difficult to see how long Hull Truck could survive.

But now, the package, consisting of loans and grants should ensure the theatre’s immediate future is secured.

In a joint statement artistic director Mark Babych and executive director Janthi Mills-Ward welcomed the news.

They said: “The theatre has worked very hard to build its resilience over the last six years and this, alongside the funds received through the government’s Job Retention Scheme, has made the short term future manageable.



Hull Truck’s Mark Babych

“But as the enforced closure period continues and with no reopening date confirmed, funding is very important to the long -term future of the theatre.

“We await the details of the fund to know how it can support this.”

Mr Babych and Ms Mills-Ward now hope they can look forward to ensure the theatre and focus on the creative side.

They said: “The much welcomed and needed 1.57 billion investment from the government for the arts, culture and heritage sector will hopefully provide meaningful investment for both organisations such as ours and the brilliant creative workforce that brings it alive.

Huge thanks to DCMS, Arts Council England, UK Theatre and politicians across parties for lobbying and making the case of how important the arts are and how close they were to being lost.

“We look forward to working with the national funding bodies to ensure Hull Truck Theatre and the whole arts ecology within Hull and East Riding can be supported through this investment, to not only survive but thrive. 

“We can’t wait to bring creativity back into our communities as a key part of our cities and regions emergence from these challenging times.”

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The £1.15bn support pot for cultural organisations in England is made up of £880m in grants and £270m of repayable loans.

Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts, starting with performances behind closed doors and rehearsals, is expected to be published by the government shortly.


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