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UK Theater
The Theatre Royal, Brighton, England

The UK arts sector will receive $2 billion in government relief after being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The UK announced over the weekend that emergency grants and loans would protect the country’s museums, galleries, theaters, independent cinemas, heritage sites, and music venues. Amid mounting pressure, art industry leaders are looking forward to the financial support. 

The pandemic has hugely impacted theaters and other art spaces in the UK. More than 350,000 people were furloughed across the industry, and many venues have struggled to stay afloat. The UK government promises the relief package will:

  • Support cultural organizations through a mix of emergency grants and loans 
  • Support the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust 
  • Resume construction on cultural infrastructure and heritage construction projects in England that paused due to COVID-19  
  • Aid arts administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales

Arts Council England, the Royal Opera House, the Music Venue Trust, the Society of London Theatre, and UK Theatre were among those to welcome the funding.

“Venues, producers, and the huge workforce in the theatre sector look forward to clarity of how these funds will be allocated and invested so that artists and organizations can get back to work as soon as possible.”

Julian Bird, Chief Executive, Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre

The British Film Institue and National Lottery Heritage Fund will decide on the awards alongside several other arts councils and industry experts. 

The UK also announced that production crews could resume filming in the country. Small numbers of essential cast and crew can now travel into the UK without having to quarantine for two weeks, as long as they restrict themselves to moving only between their accommodation and film sets. International blockbusters such as Mission: Impossible 7, The Batman, Jurassic World: Dominion, Fantastic Beasts 3, and Sony’s musical Cinderella have already started production in the UK. The green-lit productions are sure to bring in revenue for the British film industry and will play a role in helping the economy recover following the pandemic. Meanwhile, smaller productions await the government’s plans for a phased return back to work.

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