The Courtyard Youth Theatre

The Courtyard Hereford has been awarded £535,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future.

The Courtyard is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks

This additional funding will help protect The Courtyard’s future until at least spring 2021, when it is hoped social distancing will be eased. Following its closure in March 2020, 94% of its self-generated income was lost through ticket sales, events and Café Bar income, as well as facing thousands of refunds.

The community venue recently announced that it had to postpone its Christmas pantomime, which sees on average 25,000 people attend annually. The pantomime is a vital source of income that helps fund the majority of the venue’s community projects, as well as keeping the venue running. The Courtyard has a 500 strong Youth Theatre and an internationally recognised Creative Ageing programme.  The Courtyard’s Education team works with 96% of Herefordshire’s schools and had just launched an award-winning Mental Health initiative for young people.

The venue is due to complete a capital expansion project, part funded by Arts Council England. The plan to extend the building was introduced to enable further income generation to support community initiatives and future-proof the Arts Centre.

The Courtyard Hereford
The Courtyard Hereford

Ian Archer, Chief Executive and Artistic Director, said:

The Courtyard is absolutely thrilled to have been awarded £535,000 from the Culture Recovery Fund. The Courtyard, prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, established itself as a thriving arts centre in the rural county of Herefordshire and is deeply rooted in the community. Serving as the hub of cultural life within the county and the region, providing a quality programme of work where people can experience and/or participate both within the building, through our youth theatres, learning, adult participation and outreach activities. This funding lifeline will help to secure the future of The Courtyard for the people of Herefordshire and beyond

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery. These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

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